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Nov. 16-22, 2015 

The Han With the Dead Man^s Faee!j=yi 





9. ™ 

Frank Rich: ‘Carol’ and America’s Lost Lesbian Past . J First Sentences Reviewed Sfl 

R. Kelly, Unrepentant IF /Milk: An Investigation .. /The Angriest Republican 

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in Brooklyn, 1880-Present 

'i'1486'i01912 1 

A door-to-door history of change in Bed-Stuy- 
and in the city that surrounds it. 








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Loving Carol 

Todd Haynes’s adaptation 
of Patricia Highsmith’s novel 
reminds us how much 
of lesbian culture remains 
uncelebrated and unseen. 
By Frank Rich 

Biography of a Face 

How one man’s face became 
another man’s face. A stoiy 
about cutting-edge medicine 
and the mysteries of identity. 

By Steve Fishman 
Photograph hy 
Norman Jean Roy \ 

30 \ 

The R. Kelly 

Can you still listen to his 
songs when you know 
what he’s been accused of? 
By David Marchese 


1 Block, 

135 Years 

A historical journey through 
life on one stretch of 
Bed-Stuy’s MacDonough 
Street, a block that, 
like Brooklyn itself, has 
seen massive change. 


Photograph hy Bohhy Doherty 



NOVEMBER T6'>^22, $01 S O 



Literary Heroines 

Novelists styled 
as their favorite 
characters — Sula, 
Tom Ripley 

109 Marketplace 
118 New York 
by Cathy Allis 
120 The Approval 


Best Bets 

Four festive carving 
knives; the SoulCycle 
of meditation 


Look Book 

Ric Ocasek and his 
penchant for olives 

Great Room 

A 4 65-square-foot Queens 
studio with Shanghai- 
meets-Hollywood flair 


Food J 

Pies that break the 
Thanksgiving mold; 

Platt on LAmico and 
Jams ; the broccoli dish 
inspired by Taco Bell 


Food Science: 

Should you drinkit? 
If so, what kind? 

A guide to the newly 
cereal complement. 


Celebrity Value in 20 1 5 

(Or: Why we like Chris 
Pratt so much); a sculpture 
that was too much for 
the Whitney; the new 
Boh & Davidyevsus the 
oldBob and David] 

Twyla Tharp shows how 
it’s done; first sentences 
of novels, reviewed 


^ Grities 

In The Danish Girl, Tom 
Hooper conventionalizes 
the exceptional 
POP hy Lindsay Zoladz 
Grimes’s new album is 
sugary but menacing 
THEATER hjJesse Green 
A View From the Bridge 
is an argument for revivals 


Party Lines 


To Do 

Twenty-five picks for 
the next two weeks 

ON THE cover: 

MaeDonough Street, 
Brooklyn. Photomontage 
by Peter Funeh for 
New York Magazine. 

This page, photograph 
by Bobby Doherty. 


What Lives on 
the Subway Poles? 

Beautiful bacteria 
By Jen Kirby 

14 ' 

134 Minutes With ... 

Grown-up “It” girl 
Tara Subkoff and her 
husband, Urs Fischer 
By Carl Swanson 



Could Angelina 
Jolie— calm, capable, 
swaggering— be an alien? 
By Heather Havrilesky 




In this year’s GOP 
primary, John 
Kasich’s reasonableness 
reads as radical 
By Gabriel Sherman 

4 newyorkI 

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ryi Our recent list of female directors 
C‘100 Women Directors Hollywood 
Could Be Hiring," November 2-B} 
challenged the notion that tliere aren't 
enough women working in the film busi- 
ness for studios to hire as directors. ""It s a 
sack but well-established fact that female 
directors are hugely imderrepresented in 
Hoilyll^ ood^ noted the New' York ZVwifV 
Women iii the World blog. “Major stueJios 
like 20 th Centmy' Fox, Sony, and Para- 
mount haw not put out a single female- 
directed film over the course of the past 
year, and some producers have claimed 
that this imbalance stems from tlie fact 
that there aren't many women in the field 
to choose from. To prove them wrong. 
Vulture published a list of 100 women 
dircctoi-s.^ ‘‘Its one thing to scream ‘Hire 
more Wfomcn,"" wrote Aw'ards Daily's 
Sasha Stone. "It's another to see it laid out 
as cleanly and plainly as Kyle Buchanan 
and the team at Vulture has done here 
rd say ilk a fairly damning piece that 
re\'eals the bias of male directoi's." Women 
(and men) came out to celebrate the 
acknowledgment. *A reminder that it's 
not a shorLagje of female directors that's 
causing Hollwood's hiring problem,^ 
noted Bu?.^Fecd F Alison Will more. “We 
love a list like this," added Sundance Insti- 
tute, “and ive look forward to the day we 
don’t need it." "Honored to be on this," 
tweeted tlirector Vickj' Jenson, “but cuni 
believe we still have to HAW lists like 
this!" ‘‘Dear Kyle Buchananr tweeted Ava 
DttVemay: “May your lovely list live king 
on the desks of e\ etymie w ho played blind 

to its existence before now And may it 
grow. X.'' At least one reader— TAc 
Daniel Fienbei^— 
fell that one element was missing. 
“Vulture's list of 100 women directors is 
great,’" he tweeted, “but I’d like it more if 
it didn't stil I treat 'FV as a sad ghetto." And 
many readers welshed that the list could 
have refiected even more ethnic diversity. 
*Great list" w'roie commenter laura 
.moya. “Fantastic to seti women directors 
of documentaries as welL What’s missing 
hovrever are films directed by I^tina lilm- 
makers^ But most of the response could 
be summed up by Jessica Chastain's suc- 
cinct tweet: '^Yee^e^ec^ssssssss!” 

[ 2 ^ “As he enters tiie final phase of his 
lifer wrote Wil S. Hylton in his sloiy' 
on Willie Nelson's campaign against cor- 
porate pot (Willie Nelson's Crusade. 
November 2-8), “Nelson is gearing up tor 
a diflerent battle ... Even as the country 
has softened iLs stance loward marijuan;i, 
a legion of large txirjKjrations has gath- 
ered to dominate the legal nuu ket Nelson 
figures he has at least one good fight left, 
in what may be his last political act, he is 
declaring w'ar on Big Pot.** The Canna- 
bist's Ricardo Baca w'as surprised at how 
“shockingly little Wiliie Nelson knows 
about w'eed." “'fhe piece’s most surprising 
insight?" he wTotc, "After all these haxy 
decades, Willie Nelson doesn't know 
much about weed ... [he] doesn’t even 
know the diflereiicu between indica and 
sativa." Many commenters fell that 
Nelson is taking an admirable stance. “If 

you don’t see the corporate monopoly 
threat, then you don’t live in the real 
political/economic USA,” wrote com- 
menter nubwaxer. “I’ve been hoping that 
smaller artisan growers would be given 
the rights to grow legal cannabis and keep 
the revenue generated in the local econ- 
omy instead of sucked to offshore tax 
havens.” One commenter, mino.lidel, dis- 
agreed: “Marijuana is a commodity. It is 
suitable to be sold the same way as alco- 
hol, hamburgers, or coffee. It is a perfect 
fit for Starbucks -type franchises, and 
there’s nothing Willie Nelson or anyone 
can do about it. Also, where do people 
think all that money, those hundreds of 
millions of dollars spent on the legaliza- 
tion campaign, come from? They didn’t 
come from small farmers or enthusiasts, 
they came from Big Business who saw a 
future market with huge legal earnings. 
They expect to get their money back.” “At 
the end of the day, who cares?” responded 
TruthDispenser. “So long as no one is hav- 
ing their lives ruined by being sent to 
prison for years, costing them their 
careers, getting criminal records for the 
rest of their lives, ten-year travel bans per 
conviction, unable to get hired even at 
McDonald’s when they get out, having 
their homes and cars seized with 
forfeiture laws and even their families 
torn apart with kids having to grow up 
parentless in Children’s Aid and foster 
homes, who cares who ends up growing 
and selling in a legal environment? Peo- 
ple are losing sight of the big picture.” 

The November 2-8 issue had 

another pot-centric piece: “The 
Bong Next Door,” in which Reeves Wie- 
deman visited “very high Bible studies, 
softball games, and dinner parties” in 
suburban Colorado. “Fun Reeves 
Wiedeman piece from the baked sub- 
urbs of Denver,” wrote the New York 
Times' Andrew Keh. “I’d read 2,000 
more words on ‘Stoner Jesus Bible 
Study.’” The piece brought out some 
anti-pot readers, however. “Pot is just 
another way of dulling existential angst, 
of quieting the discomfort stemming 
from a life unexamined,” wrote com- 
menter sobegh. “One could also say that 
the ability to periodically free oneself 
from the pressures of everyday life is 
needed in order to ‘let go and just be,’ ” 
countered brewmn. Many readers just 
enjoyed the inside look. “Some of the 
most interesting stories out of Colorado 
the last couple years are the adventures 
of the bourgeois,” tweeted El Flaco. 

>*Send correspondence to 
Or go to to respond to individual stories. 

Yak^n jfeddy Bear $65^ 


fcPr the Holidays 

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inside: Beautiful bacteria of the MTA / Urs Fischer and Tara Suhkoff, still an alt “It” couple / Angelina Jolie and the power of self-possession 



And John Kasich Is 
the Angry One? 

In this year’s GOP 
primary, centrism is the 
unhinged position. 

“go into the hole !” John Kasich yells as he smacks a golf ball 
straight and far down the driving range of the Portsmouth 
Country Club on a New Hampshire afternoon that feels more 
like high summer than mid-fall. After stumping to a group of 
Rotarians inside the clubhouse, the Republican governor of 
Ohio is taking a break from his long-shot presidential campaign 
by practicing his impressive swing. Thwack. “That’s just ridicu- 
lous!” he says approvingly. Thwack. “Unbelievable!” Thwack. 
“It’s LeBron-like, it’s just that good.” 

Unfortunately for Kasich, the golf course is one of the few 
places where he is connecting on the campaign trail. It’s partly 
his fault: At the Fox Business debate in Milwaukee a few days 
later, he exasperatedly interrupted and scolded his rivals, deliv- 
ering what would be criticized by many as an off-putting perfor- 
mance. The most widely discussed moment came when audi- 
ence members jeered him for saying he would protect federally 
insured bank deposits during a crisis— a mainstream position 

NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 | NEW YORK 9 


that has been the foundation of our financial system for 
eight decades. 

His peevish performance may have been bad poli- 
tics, but it is understandable. During a normal year, 
Kasich’s resume would have positioned him as the most 
qualified and electable conservative in the field: He’s 
a former House Budget Committee chair and Armed 
Services Committee member; a former Fox News host; 
and a twice-elected, Jesus-loving, pro-life governor of a 
must-win swing state. “I’ve got more conservative creden- 
tials than just about anybody,” he tells me. “I’ve cut more 
taxes, balanced more budgets. I am the conservative.” 

Instead, he finds himself mocked by his party’s base 
as a liberal turncoat in a way that echoes the reaction 
to Jon Huntsman’s short-lived 2012 campaign. After the 
Fox debate. Red State founder Erick Erickson labeled 
Kasich an “ass.” Brent Bozell tweeted: “Remember Wile 
E. Coyote going over the cliff and landing with a pathetic 
‘poof’? That was the Kasich campaign tonight.” Even 
the Times’^ reform-minded conservative Ross Douthat was 
pessimistic: “The fastest way to lose a G.O.R nomination 
is by running against movement conservatism writ large.” 

In a GOP primary held hostage by radicals who want 
to blow up the system, Kasich’s reasonableness— he sup- 
ports the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, backs immi- 
gration reform, and believes climate change is real- 
makes him the radical in the race. “I’ve had a handful of 
Democratic fund-raisers ask me to connect them to the 
Kasich people because they want to donate a significant 
sum. If there was a party of the center, John Kasich 
would be the leading candidate,” Republican pollster 
Frank Luntz told me last month. “It’s tough for him to be 
successful because there’s not a lot of centrist Republi- 
cans anymore.” Even in New Hampshire, apparently. On 
Fox News after the debate, Luntz said that Kasich’s per- 
formance scored the lowest rating he’d ever seen with 
a focus group of New Hampshire voters. 

But Kasich is betting that New Hampshire returns to its 
senses. In state polls, he’s been beating fellow Establish- 
mentarians Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. “New Hampshire 
should rename itself Cape Canaveral, because New Hamp- 
shire is the place that launches people into the national 
consciousness,” Kasich says. He’s built one of the largest 
field organizations in the state, with 16 paid staffers; spent 
the most on advertising; and secured key endorsements 
from local power brokers, including former senators John 
Sununu and Gordon Humphrey and former attorney 
general Tom Rath. Since declaring his candidacy in July, 
Kasich has held two dozen town-hall meetings in the state, 
and he may get to a hundred by February. 

Kasich is following a strategy that worked for another 
cranky candidate loathed by the party’s base: John 
McCain. McCain’s former Svengali John Weaver is 
Kasich’s chief strategist. Since 2008, Weaver has been 
looking for a candidate he could at least get to the con- 
vention. In 2012, he thought he’d found him in Hunts- 
man. Now he’s banking on Kasich. “He can win in a gen- 
eral election, which at the end of day is the whole point 
of this,” Weaver tells me. 

The most visible element of the Weaver strategy is the 
Kasich bus, a red-white-and-blue coach modeled on 
McCain’s fabled Straight Talk Express. But in the age of 
Trump and Twitter, the bus seems like an anachronism 
from a more hopeful moment in the GOP’s history. 





18 % 

16 % 

11 % 

10 % 

8 % 





*According to 
the most recent 
WBUR poll 
ofUkely GOP- 
primary voters. 

Riding along are three of Kasich’s longtime friends from 
his years in the House, when he was a party hero (Kasich 
balanced the budget, pushed welfare reform, and voted 
to impeach Bill Clinton). Even the movies are old: Raoul 
Walsh’s 1941 Western They Died With Their Boots On, 
about Custer’s last stand, plays silently on the bus’s TV. 

Back on the bus after golf, Kasich is buoyed by his 
speech to the Rotarians, even if Trump is leading in New 
Hampshire by double digits. “People think problems are 
so bad that they’re looking for something dramatically 
different. It’s like having a football team that’s 0 and 6 
and saying. Why don’t we just recruit people out of the 
stands to play the next game?”’ Kasich says. “But that 
never happens, and people settle down.” 

Kasich’s mood turns when an aide comes over to brief 
him on the next event, a student panel on the economy 
at the University of New Hampshire. “You’ll ask ques- 
tions, and the audience will ask questions.” 

“I ask questions of whom?” Kasich snaps. 

“Of the panel,” the aide explains. 

“Why am I doing that?” 

“Well, you give your opening statement—” 

“Opening statement! I mean, what is this? I’m asking 
people questions? They’re not asking me?” 

Perhaps realizing he’s starting to flip out in front of 
a reporter, Kasich turns back to me. “Go ahead,” he says. 

I ask whether he’d accept a VP slot if he doesn’t win 
the nomination. Kasich’s commanding reelection in 
Ohio— he won with over 60 percent of the vote in 2014— 
would seem to position him as a formidable vice- 
presidential candidate. But he says he’s not interested. 
“Look, I’m trying to get the best job in the country. And 
if I don’t get it, I have the second-best job in the country,” 
he says of his governorship. 

The sun is setting when we pull into the UNH campus. 
“Is this the best you can do?” Kasich says in jest, greeting 
an associate professor and some students. 

“I have questions about the economy for you,” an eager 
boy says. 

“If they’re hard, it won’t be a good ending for you!” 
Kasich chortles. 

As the town hall begins, Kasich takes his place in front 
of a large electronic debt clock’s whizzing digits. The 
questions are friendly, save for a handful of green-energy 
protesters and a woman who challenges his stance on 
Planned Parenthood (he wants to defund it). He talks 
about his plan to bridge the partisan divide, balance the 
budget, and reform health care. “Leadership is the ability 
to walk the lonely road,” he says. “You’re not in politics to 
be a Republican or a Democrat as the first priority. You’re 
an American before you’re a member of a political party.” 

It’s dark when we pile into the bus for the drive to the 
final town hall of the day, in Londonderry. The TV is now 
tuned to the Golf Channel. Kasich asks the driver to pull 
over at Dunkin’ Donuts so he can get a coffee and do 
a power walk around the Home Depot parking lot, a rit- 
ual the 62-year-old fitness freak has adopted on the trail. 

No one recognizes Kasich as we wait to order. Under 
the fluorescent glare, he looks exhausted— this is his 
sixth state in five days. Tomorrow, he has three more 
events and a flight to New York to appear on Colbert It’s 
a tough— and, yes, lonely— road. But Kasich is sanguine. 
“I’m not going to change,” he says. “It’s not worth it to me. 
Winning wrong is not winning in my mind.” ■ 

10 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 




Kick off the celebration with 5-time Grammy® nominee SARA 
BAREILLES singing songs from the new Broadway musical Waitress. 

After the show, make your way to 59th Street and Lexington Avenue 
(led by THE PATRIOT BRASS ENSEMBLE) for the unveiling 
of our holiday window displays. 

This year, world-renowned artist, author and designer JEFF LEATHAM 
has transformed our windows into an interactive experience for all five senses, 
featuring faceted mirror sculptures, flowers, crystals and custom fragrances. 

Following the unveiling, come inside our 59th Street flagship to have 
your copy of Sara Bareilles’ new album “What’s Inside: Songs from 
Waitress” signed by Sara herself. 



contains: 1 , 5 , 6 

Uitan Fauna: 
What Lives 
on the Suhnray 
Pole? Art. 

Underground cultures. 



year when Craig Ward saw a fellow 
photographer’s image of bacteria cul- 
tured from her son’s handprint. When he 
next hopped on the subway, “It reminded 
me of that urban myth: When you hold 
on to the subway railings, you shake 
hands with 100 people all at once,” says 
the 34-year-old Brooklyn artist. Before 
long. Ward was riding all 22 lines with 
a bag of sterile sponges, swabbing the 
handrails and plastic seats. “As soon as 
you start taking out scientific equipment 


contains: 1, 6 

and petri dishes, people did start to look 
a bit,” he says. “But no one really chal- 
lenged me. You can get away with most 
things on the subway.” Back at his studio, 
each sample was used to form the sub- 
way line’s name on a petri dish filled 
with agar— the jellylike substance that 
feeds bacteria— and cultivated through 
a warm summer. For Ward’s portraits of 
these little swarming families, the petri 
dishes are lit to match the subway line: 
the 7 in violet, the G in green. They are 
alive and alien all at once. 



contains: 1 , 3 , 5 , 6 

contains: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 7 


contains: 1 , 3 , 4 


contains: 4 , 5 

The railings (unsurprisingly) yielded 
the most dramatic results. Not every 
colony can be named, but Ward was 
able to ID quite a few microorganisms 
by shape and color. Many are the benign 
everyday bacteria found in saliva and 
sweat and skin. Others are more sinis- 
ter— Ward found F. coll and a few 
strains of staphylococcus, plus (inevita- 
bly) a bunch of mold. Some viewers 
“might just recoil and say it’s gross,” 
admits Ward. “But this is a portrait of 
New York. That day, that time.” 



Pink and red blotches. 
Found in feces; sonne 
types cause 
gastroenteritis or 
urinary-tract infections. 


Clear to light-orange 
colonies. Causes kidney 
stones, infections. 


Beige colonies. Causes 
serious digestive upset. 



White to light-yellow 
colonies; sonne may 
appear mauve. Causes 
skin infections, sinusitis, 
and food poisoning. 


Bright-yellow colonies. 
Normal component of 
saliva and sweat; harmless. 


White, spread out like 
flat cauliflower florets. 
Found in soil and the 
gastrointestinal tract of 
humans. Non-harmful, 
possibly beneficial; has 

\ been used as an 

alternative antibiotic. 




Red and pink dots. 

; Often seen as bathroom 
j slime. A leading cause 
i of hospital-acquired 




Big fuzzy blobs of it. 

NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 13 



Tara Subkoff and Urs Fischer 

Can art school’s cool kids 
grow up to be anti-bullying activists? 


L ife seems on the whole to be 
going pretty well for Tara Sub- 
koff and her husband of nearly 
three years, Urs Fischer— if 
what they’re after is a kind of 
tenured-hipster second act. Fischer, the 
Swiss artist who has lived in New York for 
just over a decade, is best known for play- 
ful sculptures that often seem to embody 
a heroic futility. (He made that 23-foot- 
tall, 17-ton bronze figure of a teddy bear 
impaled by a desk lamp that stood in 

front of the Seagram Building a few 
years back.) Subkoff, the long-durational 
“It” girl, who not so long ago survived 
a brain tumor, has her directorial debut, 
^Horror, opening this month. She grew 
up in Connecticut— her father owned 
an antiques shop on Broadway and 13th 
Street she says Andy Warhol used to 
frequent— and went to prep school in 
Massachusetts. For many years, she ran 
a deliriously conceptual fashion house 
called Imitation of Christ (at first it 

14 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 

Photograph hy Dina Litovsky 

)201 5 CHANEL®, Inc. @® N° 5®, The Classic Bottle® AVAILABLE AT CHANEL.COM 





recycled clothing from thrift shops like the 
Salvation Army sometimes adding punk- 
ish slogans; for a time Chloe Sevigny was 
closely involved) while doing things like 
collaborating with Easy Spirit on the side, 
all the while kind of knowing everyone who 
might be at whatever the then-equivalent 
of the Beatrice Inn was on any given night. 
Tonight they’ve joined me for dinner at 
a tatty neighborhood place called Bistro Les 
Amis near their Soho apartment, which 
they share with Fischer’s 6-year-old daugh- 
ter (when she’s not with her mother) and 
a rescue poodle named Franzi. “There’s no 
real scene,” notes Fischer, before ordering 
the branzino. “If you want Raoul’s, it’s down 
the street,” says Subkoff, who goes for the 
steak-fiites, medium rare. 

^Horror stars Sevigny, Subkoff ’s friend 
since they were both young actors in Whit 
Stillman’s chatty preppy dirge The Last 
Days of Disco. Early on in the new film, 
we see Sevigny in the woods of snowy, 
affluent Bedford, New York, and stalk- 
ing around a modernist house populated 
by recognizable works of contemporary 
art— a Rob Pruitt, a Dan Colen. She is real- 
istically distraught, questioning her hus- 
band (played by Balthazar Getty), who is 
cheating on her with their art adviser (“Are 
you thinking of a lie?”). But the heart of 
the film is elsewhere in the house, where 
their 12-year-old daughter— in her way 
as spoiled, needy, and self-involved as her 
mother— has invited friends over to hang 
out. The kids talk, gossip, gang up on one 
another, tiy on Mom’s clothes and jewelry, 
and play what seems to be a kind of terrify- 
ingly antisocial social-media app that com- 
bines elements of Instagram, Snapchat, 
Periscope, and Candy Crush but is basically 
a cyberbullying game. This being a horror 
film, as the action gets going, images from 
the game— which Subkoff created with the 
artist Tabor Robak— flash over the screen, 
showing the score going up with each death. 
(Think of it as Carrie with smartphones.) 

“One of the things I love about the movie 
is its harshness— the harshness of the girls 
against the other girls, the harshness and 
brutality, which is not a male brutality,” 
Fischer says. “The movie reminds me a little 
oi Stand hyMe—as a romanticized girl ver- 
sion. Basically, I see your movie as the con- 
temporary-girl version of Stand hy Me.” 

“It’s the opposite! It’s the opposite!” Sub- 
koff says. “I mean, the best line of that film 
was 1 never had any fiiends later on like the 
ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does any- 
one?’ Your friends were everything then.” 

Both Subkoff and Fischer are 42, with 
not as much to prove anymore, it seems. 
Subkoff had arrived looking a bit like Faye 
Dunaway in Chinatown, with a French 

net veil over her face, but in general, she 
says, “I try to dress as plainly as possible 
these days so it becomes less about that.” 
And Fischer? The two are hardly a twee 
matched set: Unlike, say, Subkoff ’s ex Wes 
Anderson, Fischer has tattoos on his neck 
and wrists and once worked as a bouncer 
(in Zurich, but still). He’s in his usual uni- 
form of well-worn Stan Smiths and a white 
T-shirt (“Some of them are more spotted 
than others,” he admits; the one tonight is 
pretty stained). “I just don’t want to think 
about getting dressed in the morning.” 

“Maybe once in a while I get him in 
something nice,” Subkoft* says, studying him 
aftectionately. “He is my husband, after all.” 

^Horror is definitely Subkoff’s movie, 
though Fischer was supportive in a number 
of ways, including helping to gather the art- 
work. “It’s like they are characters,” she says. 
“I grew up around a lot of antiques, and 
I always feel like objects have a strength to 
them. I thought it would be interesting to be 
in this house with it being so cold outside, 
and all of the art that we curated to go into 
this film had a violence to it and was sort 
of inappropriate to have around children.” 

“I disagree,” says Fischer. “I was thinking 
about the obsession of the parents with art, 
which I obviously—” 

“Understand,” says Subkoff. 

“The collection is an obsession with the 
power of possessions, and how the children 
feel this sense of isolation as the parents go 
into this world of art, which has nothing to 
do with them. And as the parents escape 
into it, the children have no relation to it. 
And so how they talk about it is, like, yuck.” 

“Or jealousy maybe. Of the attention.” 

Was Subkoff bullied as a kid? “I had 
a really rough time from 10 through 13,” 
she says. “There is something that goes on 
at that age: trying to figure out who you 
are, who your fiJends are; separating from 
your parents, and seeing them as people 

“I see your movie as 
the eontemporary- 
giii version of 
‘Stand by BUe.’” 
“It’s the opposite! 
It’s the opposite!” 

separately from being just your parents, 
and being horrified by them in some way.” 

“It may be the moment when you realize 
that something shifted,” says Fischer. 

“Innocence lost.” 

“It’s not lost; your brain is just develop- 
ing into a different thing. But I, for exam- 
ple, think that Damien Hirst is an inno- 
cent artist.” 

“Oh my God. That is totally going to shut 
off anything else in this article. Let’s talk 
more about the movie,” Subkoff says. “I was 
interested in cyberbullying— the real-life 
horror of it. Some of my friends’ children 
at that age were badly cyberbullied. Espe- 
cially the idea that you can’t shake it. It 
follows you. It’s a different landscape from 
when we were growing up. You can’t just 
change schools. At that age, it’s unbearable.” 
She mentions an anti-bullying program 
she’s been working with called Bridg-It. 

Fischer notices someone they know on 
the sidewalk outside. “Oh, there’s Terry!” 
Their fiiend Teny Richardson comes in, in 
droopy sweats, and they chat for a few min- 
utes, planning to see each other at a char- 
ity event honoring Fischer the next night. 
When Richardson gets up and Subkoff 
goes to the restroom, Fischer turns to me: 
“Didn’t New York Magazine bully him?” 

When Subkoff returns, she talks about 
how hard it is to get the dialogue right, to 
make the people sound like the people they 
are supposed to be. “But that’s what a movie 
is: They sound like they’re in a movie,” says 
Fischer, who grew up loving Jim Jarmusch 
movies. “The beauty about Jarmusch was 
that they have this artificial conversation, 
which sets the tone,” he says. “It was the one 
main source of information on what a cooler 
way of seeing life could be when you are 
in Switzerland.” 

Subkoff agrees. “The Coen brothers is 
poetiy. Or Wes Anderson. But they all have 
a talent for dialogue.” 

Even if it’s not something you would say, 
I suggest. 

“It’s something you’d want to say,” says 

“His Girl Friday’’ Fischer replies. 
“Come on. Nobody has that well-edited 
a conversation.” 

“I bet in that day and age they did talk 
that way.” 

“I bet they didn’t.” 

“There was more of a repartee.” 

“Only as it was recorded in the movies 
and in novels.” 

“But they did read more in the ’30s, ’40s, 
’50s. They weren’t talking and then looking 
at their emails.” She holds up her iPhone. 

“There is something sentimental about 
the past,” says Fischer. “The innocence that 
is lost is always being lost.” ■ 

16 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 

Ocean of Images: 

New Photography 2015 
Now on View 

DIS. Positive Ambiguity 
(beard, iectern, teieprompter, 
wind machine, confidence). 
2015. Commissioned by 
The Museum of Modem Art 
©2015 DIS 

The Museum of 
Modern Art 
11 West 53 Street 

Major support for the exhibition 
is provided by MoMA’s Waiiis 
Annenberg Fund for Innovation 
in Contemporary Art through the 
Annenberg Foundation and by 
The Wiiliam Randoiph Flearst 
Endowment Fund. 

Generous funding is provided by 
the Annenberg Foundation, The 
Contemporary Arts Council of The 
Museum of Modern Art, David 
Dechman and Michei Mercure, 
and Courtney Finch Tayior. 



Heather Havrilesky 

The Maddeningness 
of Queen Angie 
Why can’t we admire 
this avatar of 
female egotism? 

ANGELINA JOLIE DOES EXACTLY what shelikes,full stop. That’s 
why she has always been such a maddening, transfixing mixture of 
inspiration and affront to the rest of us. In her first few seconds in 
the spotlight, she rejected the demure-lady-superstar path, openly 
scoffing at so-called Hollywood glamour with tattoos and black 
leather, then mariying an oddball 20 years her senior and wearing 
a vial of his blood around her neck. After her divorce from Billy 
Bob Thornton, she wrote off the heteronormative fantasy of life- 
long marriage and triumphantly prepared to raise her first child as 
a single mother, only to reverse course and dive right into her own 
custom-designed heteronormative fantasy with a very married 
Brad Pitt (refusing to either play the predatory vixen or apologize 
for the awkward timing, she flaunted her budding relationship by 
posing as Pitt’s wdfe in a photo shoot for FP instead). Soon after, 
Jolie set about adopting and giving birth to a multiethnic army of 
babies with Pitt by her side, ushering them on what seemed like 
a never-ending world tour flanked by an army of Ray-Ban-clad 

18 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 





Readings by Dan Stevens 
{Downton AbheyX Ari Graynor 
{.Whip /f). Linda Lavin {Alice), 
and BD Wong. With Joyce 
Carol Oates. 



Anthony de Mare performs 
NYC premieres by Wynton 
Marsalis, Andy Akiho. and 
Jherek Bischoff, plus encores 
of Steve Reich, Mason Bates, 
and more! 

95^” & BROA D WAY 

handlers. She had a preemptive double 
mastectomy in 2013, then had her ovaries 
and fallopian tubes removed this year, but 
used both operations as opportunities to 
inform the public about inherited cancer 
risks. Somehow, she emerged with even 
more swagger. Year after year, she’s greeted 
unexpected challenges with such calm and 
poise that it’s almost impossible to trust her. 
Could Jolie be an alien from another planet, 
sent to control our minds while harvesting 
a gorgeous rainbow of children from every 
nation, each one destined to rule a planet of 
his or her own in some distant galaxy? 

As absurd as that sounds, science fiction 
may come closest to capturing Jolie’s status 
as a constantly reinvented symbol of unapol- 
ogetic female egotism and power— power 
that’s wildly out of sync with the ploddingly 
flat, PR-sawy words Jolie uses to describe 
her experiences. In her latest power move, 
Jolie directs herself and her husband in By 
the Sea, a dark drama about a couple in the 
midst of a boozy marriage crisis that can’t 
help but conjure that FPphoto shoot from a 
decade ago. But this should come as no sur- 
prise. Jolie did what she liked ten years ago, 
and what she likes right now is directing. 

By the Sea may not set the world on fire. 
But as a clue to her otherwise mysteri- 
ous inner life and her unfathomable mar- 
riage, the film is like a Rosetta stone. This is 
a woman who has it all but who always 
seems to want more. She doesn’t want to 
be just a world-famous actress, which, she 
hints, has always felt beneath her. She wants 
to be a movie director and also a guardian of 
human rights worldwide, one with a famous 
husband who is, in spite of his rigorous film- 
ing schedule, an equal co-parenting partner 
and supportive best fiiend. She’s even taken 
on Pitt’s last name, in what seems less like 
a show of deference or wifely tradition than 
an imperial claim. 

Thus do we find the new Ms. Jolie Pitt in 
a gorgeous seaside village in the Mediterra- 
nean, the ideal setting for a certain super- 
naturally attractive couple to glower and 
sulk in sparkling sunlight. The trailer for 
By the Sea delivers on this front: In scene 
after scene, Jolie and Pitt are glowering and 
sulking in the most photogenic and glamor- 
ous ways imaginable. A follow-up to Jolie’s 
second feature film. Unbroken, By the Sea 
presents an American writer and his wife 
experiencing marital upheaval— albeit that 
rare flavor of upheaval that looks just like 
a high-end perfume ad. The screenplay, 
which was written by Jolie, allows for shots 
of the actress sitting on a rumpled bed with 
big, salty tears dripping from her saucer eyes, 
or poutily smoking in tinted Sophia Loren 
glasses. In other shots, we find Pitt pour- 
ing himself a drink, trying to write in the 
bathtub, hitting his head in fimstration over 

a blank page, and tossing back another 
drink instead. The couple is armed with 
terse lines that mimic the suspenseful vaga- 
ries of Mad Men teasers. Pitt: “We ever 
gonna talk about it?” Then: “You wanna 
hurt me?” Jolie: “You’re nothing!” In a slight 
departure from the stylings of Chanel No. 5, 
though, name-calling escalates to violence, 
then Harry Nilsson sings in his 1979 warble, 
“It’s the perfect way to end a perfect day.” 

Dabbling in dark melodrama starring 
you and your perfect husband may be the 
perfect way to advance your perfect career 
and bask in the glory of your perfect life. 
Or, it may just be another day in the life of 
a “camp event,” as Scott Rudin uncharitably 
described Jolie in his hacked Sony emails. 
But that’s not how Jolie sees it. “I didn’t 
ever think I could direct,” Jolie told DnJour, 
speaking in her new, preferred tongue of 
self-eftacing humility bordering on the sur- 
real, “but I hope I’m able to have a career at 
it because I’m much happier.” She prefers 
directing to acting these days, she says. “I’ve 
never loved being in front of the camera.” 

She certainly had us fooled. But maybe 
what Jolie is really saying is that she prefers 
to be in charge. No wonder that, for all her 
talk of the importance of equal partnerships, 
Jolie always feels like the white-hot center of 
her universe, with Pitt playing the dutiful 
sidekick. Even when Pitt is off working on 
his own projects— movies that always seem 
to require bizarre choices in facial hair— it’s 
difficult not to imagine him as anything but 
a cork tossed on Jolie’s stormy sea. In eveiy 
paparazzi shot, Pitt looks like just another 
handler among many, protecting the queen 
and her enormous brood: Angie royalty. 
Brad her loyal footservant. Is this interpreta- 
tion just an outcropping of our anxiety about 
shifting gender roles? Or is it simply that, 
having witnessed Jolie’s intelligence and 
self-possession and Pitt’s strange clumsiness 
over the years, it’s hard not to feel that she 
should lead and he should follow? Are we 
unnecessarily demeaning a nice guy who 
has embraced an egalitarian marriage to 
a strong woman, or are we just trying to 
elevate Jolie to the status of a modern-day 
Mother of Dragons? 

What is 
most strildiig 
about Jolie’s 
desires is 
how earnest 
they are. 

For a Mother of Dragons, what is most 
striking about Jolie’s apparent desires is 
how earnest they are at their core: profes- 
sional success yielding creative autonomy; 
a marriage that is both hopelessly photoge- 
nic and a fulfilling partnership; an obvious 
ability to relish the joys of motherhood with 
or without cameras present; simple philan- 
thropic goodness on a scale that matters 
globally. Could anyone argue with these 
ambitions? And yet they’re embroidered 
with just enough stubborn hints that she’s 
somehow reinventing the wheel that we 
tend to encounter them as considerably 
more radical, if not as expressions of out- 
right hostility. This goes especially for her 
marriage. Pitt has said that, in support of gay 
marriage, he and Jolie wouldn’t many until 
“everyone else in the country who wants to 
be married is legally able.” Then they went 
ahead and did it anyway. And Jolie hinted 
to German magazine Das Neue Blatt that 
the two have an open marriage. “I doubt 
that fidelity is absolutely essential for a rela- 
tionship,” she said. “Neither Brad nor I have 
ever claimed that living together means to 
be chained together. We make sure that we 
never restrict each other.” This is a pair who 
chose to spend their honeymoon shooting a 
movie (or “an art film,” as Jolie calls it) about 
a deeply unhappy married couple. Filming 
involved accessing their aggression toward 
each other, but as Jolie told Vogm, “As artists 
we wanted something that took us out of our 
comfort zones.” She added, “It’s not the saf- 
est idea. But life is short.” All of that photo- 
genic suffering was worth it, though: “We’re 
proud of ourselves for being brave enough to 
tiy it,” Jolie explained to Vanity Fair. 

If equating a pricey film shoot with 
a struggle to be brave sounds a little rich, 
that may just be the dissonance inherent in 
having all the time and money in the world 
and still working very hard to pursue the 
exact life you want. That very audacity has 
placed Jolie pretty far ahead of her times 
over the years. She was the Zorro of Other 
Women in the hopelessly heteronormative 
aughts, then she acquired Benetton-ready 
babies at the dawn of our transition to 
a truly global culture. Her New York Times 
op-ed about her elective surgeiy this spring 
pointed the way to a brand-new era of 
transparency and self-empowered, selfie 
activism. And if Jolie’s real has never been 
discernible from her fake, that only meant 
she was a beacon to the unholy mob of Tay- 
lor Swifts to follow. For better or for worse, 
Jolie is a woman who stands up for what she 
believes, conjures a tempest, then remarks 
serenely at how lovely the weather has been 
lately. And if most of her choices happen to 
entail jaw-dropping costs, outsize propor- 
tions, and self-mythologizing acts of film- 
making, well . . . life is short, isn’t it? ■ 





6.5 QT. AND 3.0 QT. SET. REG. $420, SALE $340. 
8.0 QT. AND 4.5 QT. SET. REG. $465, SALE $375. 

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Sale ends December 24, 2015. Reg./Orig. prices reflect offering prices. Savings may not be based on actual sales. 
Intermediate markdowns may have been taken. Savings off regular, original and/or already-reduced prices. Some items 
may be included in sales already in progress or in future sales. For home merchandise availability, please visit Quantities are limited; not all styles or colors in all stores. Prices, savings and 
selection may differ on Not valid at Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Stores. 

Frank Udi: 


Patricia Highsmith took a Christ- 
mas-season temp job as a shopgirl 
in the children’s toy department 
at Bloomingdale’s. Highsmith, a 
27-year-old native of Fort Worth, 
Texas, and a 1942 Barnard gradu- 
ate, was a budding novelist who 
had been supporting herself for 
five years as a freelance action- 
comic-book writer, concocting sto- 
ries for lesser superheroes like Spy 
Smasher and Black Terror— a rare 
gig for a woman in the golden age of com- 
ics. But her average weekly income of $55 
no longer sufficed now that she had 
started shelling out $30 a week for psy- 
choanalysis. Highsmith had sought a 
shrink’s help to deal with her qualms 
about her pending marriage to a British 
novelist named Marc Brandel. Up until 
then, her prolific love life had been defined 
by a string of affairs with women. 

The therapy didn’t take, and the mar- 
riage never happened. The Bloomingdale’s 
job, which she loathed, expired in two 
weeks. But there was an incident in the toy 
department lasting a mere two or three 
minutes that would haunt Highsmith for 
life. As she would recount it publicly for the 
first time more than four decades later, “a 
routine transaction,” the sale of a doll to a 
suburban “blondish woman in a fur coat” 
seeking a gift for her daughter, had left 
Highsmith “odd and swimmy in the head, 
near to fainting, yet at the same time 
uplifted, as if I had seen a vision.” Back in 
her apartment after work, she feverishly 
plotted out a story inspired by her experi- 
ence. As her first novel. Strangers on a 
Train, was being published in 1950, she 
retrieved the story as the basis for what 
would be her second. The Priee of Salt. Still 
possessed by her “vision,” she took the train 
fi'om Pennsylvania Station to Ridgewood, 
New Jersey, where the “blondish woman” 
lived— Highsmith had held on to her name 
and address from the Bloomingdale’s 


Even today, Todd Haynes’s 
mesmerizing adaptation 
of Patricia Highsmith’s classic 
novel comes as a shock — 
mostly for how much lesbian 
culture remains invisible to 
America at large. 

transaction— and spied on her. “The curious 
thing,” she wrote in her journal afterward, 
was that the experience “felt quite close to 
murder.” Murder, she mused, “is a kind of 
making love, a kind of possessing.” She fan- 
tasized about putting “my hands upon her 
throat (which I should really like to kiss).” 

Strangers on a Train, in which two men, 
one a psychopath and the other a straight 
arrow, meet by happenstance and decide to 
swap murders of relatives they respectively 
despise, was well received and snapped up 
for the movies by Alfred Hitchcock. But 
Highsmith’s publisher. Harper & Brothers, 
rejected The Priee of Salt, with its tale of the 
obsessive love of a 19-year-old department- 
store shopgirl, Therese Belivet, for a mar- 
ried, 30-something customer, Carol Aird. 
Coward-McCann published it instead, in 
1952, under the pseudonym Claire Morgan. 
The next year. Bantam brought out a 
35-cent paperback edition with leering 
cover art (one woman seductively touches 
another’s shoulder as the discarded man 
looks on helplessly from afar) and lurid ad 
copy (“The Novel of a Love Society For- 
bids”). It sold nearly a million copies. But 
Highsmith, who bridled that her first novel 
had been pigeonholed by Harper as a “novel 
of suspense,” didn’t want to be known as the 
author of a ‘lesbian book” either. She didn’t 
acknowledge Salt as her own for more than 
a quarter-centuiy. She didn’t open up about 
its histoiy until five years before her death, 
when she wrote an afterword for a 1990 
British reissue that credited her as the 
author and retitled the book Carol. 

Now Carol Aird may become more 
widely known than ever, in the form of yet 
another of the extraordinary perfor- 
mances we have come to expect from Cate 
Blanchett, who is paired with the no less 
impressive Rooney Mara as Therese in the 
director Todd Haynes and the writer 
Phyllis Nagy’s mesmerizing and moving 
film adaptation of Highsmith’s anxiety- 
laced romance. Since Strangers on a 
Train, there have been several screen 
treatments of Highsmith’s work— includ- 
ing three drawn from her best-known 
book. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955), or 

22 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 

one of its sequels, variously directed by 
Rene Clement (in I960), Wim Wenders 
(1977), and Anthony Minghella (1999). 
(Blanchett appeared in Minghella’s, which 
starred Matt Damon as Ripley.) But none 
of these movies has burrowed into the 
heart of Highsmith as uncompromisingly 
as Carol, which is unfailingly true to the 
only explicitly personal novel among the 
22 she wrote. 

That the film happens to land in this par- 
ticular historical moment adds another 
dimension to its fascination. It was during 
the long period of its gestation— Nagy was 
first approached about writing the screen- 
play at the end of the last centuiy — that the 
tipping point arrived for gay rights in 
America. While those rights have not been 
firmly secured even in the wake of the 
Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex 
marriage— witness Houston’s revoking of 
its anti-discrimination ordinance this 
month— few would deny that a legal, 
political, and cultural transformation has 
occurred in straight America’s relationship 
to gay America. 

Once America turns a comer like that, it 
tends to move on. We don’t make a habit of 
looking back at our histoiy if a social injus- 
tice is thought to have been fixed. In 1977, 
well after the Aftican-American civil-rights 
movement was celebrated as a done deal, 
executives at ABC were floored to find that 
130 million Americans, representing some 
85 percent of the nation’s television house- 
holds, would watch the mini-series Roots; 
even at that late date, the history of slavery 
and its legacy turned out to be a revelation 
to much of that audience. (As we learned in 
this year’s Confederate-flag debate, that his- 
tory is still murl^ to many.) Basking in the 
warm glow of America’s spate of gay-civil- 
rights victories, Hollywood can tell itself its 
work is done. Larry Kramer’s landmark 
1985 play of the aids era. The Normal 
Heart, finally became a television film 
(almost 30 years after its theatrical pre- 
miere), after all, and movies like The Imita- 
tion Game diXidi Dallas Buyers Club are rou- 
tinely celebrated at the Oscars. Now that 
Modern Family is borderline retro, trans- 
gender characters are having a belated tele- 
vision moment, too. 

But then you look at a film like Carol, 
and peer through the windows it opens 
onto both cultural history and actual his- 
tory, and you realize how much we don’t 
know about a past that unfolded in the 
shadows until not very long ago. You also 
start to wonder how many cultural trea- 
sures and figures are buried in that 
antiquity, invisible to most of heterosex- 
ual America and perhaps to much of 
younger gay America, too. Highsmith’s 

“lesbian book,” its million paperback cop- 
ies of six decades ago notwithstanding, is 
just such a case. 

EVEN NOW, let alone in the past, lesbians 
rarely receive the same measure of attention 
as gay men in our culture, pop culture 
included. There are some obvious reasons 
for this beyond a misogynistic strain in 
America so durable that it’s still front and 
center in presidential campaigns. In the 
entertainment industry, men, straight and 
gay, hold many more positions of power 
than straight and gay women do, and those 
men, whatever their sexual orientation, are 
going to favor their own stories. Another 
factor is the overwhelming tragedy of the 
AIDS epidemic. It inevitably and properly 
pushed gay men to the fore once main- 
stream Hollywood (in 1993, with Tom 
Hanks taking the plunge in Philadelphia) 
at last mustered the will to address aids and 
its shunned victims head-on. 

Highsmith at 21. 

Yet gay women often had to settle for the 
crumbs of mainstream culture both before 
and after the aids crisis. Ellen DeGeneres 
broke a barrier when she came out in the 
fourth of her original sitcom’s five seasons, 
and there have been recurring lesbian char- 
acters in other network series, but there 
was no prime-time broadcast phenomenon 
for gay women as sustained as, say. Will & 
Graee. Once major Hollywood studios, for 
better and (often) worse, started to regu- 
larly turn out glossy entertainments with 
gay-male protagonists like In & Out and 
The Bir deage in the mid-’90s, most films 
with three-dimensional lesbian characters, 
from Desert Hearts and Go Fish to Heav- 
enly Creatures, remained relatively ghet- 
toized as low-budget indies, imports, or 
box-office also-rans. Big-budget Holly- 
wood was more likely to exploit a lesbian or 
bisexual female character— e.g., Sharon 
Stone’s star turn in Basie Instinet—diS a 
soft-porn sex toy for straight men. 

Carol is an Anglo-American indie col- 
laboration that took a decade to get made. 
Haynes signed on late in the process, after 
a previous director, John Crowley, 
dropped out. It was a natural assignment 
for Haynes, who had previously collabo- 
rated with Blanchett on her gender-bend- 
ing turn in I’m Not There, his 2007 cine- 
matic meditation on Bob Dylan. Haynes 
has often put women in crisis at the center 
of his films, starting with the legendary 
1987 short he made while studying for his 
M.F.A. at Bard, Superstar: The Karen 
Carpenter Story, in which the anorexic 
pop singer and other characters were 
played by Barbie dolls. (It exists now only 
as a bootleg because of a successful copy- 
right-infringement action brought by 
Carpenter’s brother, Richard.) The obvi- 
ous direct antecedent of Carol in Haynes’s 
filmography is Far From Heaven (2002), 
set later in the 1950s than Highsmith’s 
story. An homage to both the texts and 
subtexts of the director Douglas Sirk’s 
Hollywood melodramas of that decade. 
Heaven tells of a Connecticut wife and 
mother (Julianne Moore) coming to terms 
with both her husband’s closeted homo- 
sexuality and her own runaway passion 
for the African-American gardener per- 
forming day labor in her white, upper- 
middle-class enclave. Haynes is a gay 
man, but his greatest empathy was 
reserved for Moore’s trapped wife. As he 
has said, the closeted husband, “a white 
man in hiding,” still had more freedom to 
maneuver and get what he wanted than 
either a black man or a white woman in 
America before the dawn of the modern 
civil-rights and feminist movements. 

That wider point of view kept Far From 
Heaven from being the gay-rights polemic 
its plot might suggest. With Carol, both 
Haynes and Nagy were similarly deter- 
mined not to make what Nagy calls “an 
agenda film” and Haynes a “look how far 
we’ve come” film. The movie alters only a 
few details of the novel (most notably 
making Therese an aspiring photogra- 
pher instead of an apprentice theatrical- 
set designer). Haynes shot the film in 
Super l6-mm. and draws on the collective 
iconography of mid-century American 
urban photographers like Ruth Orkin, 
Saul Leiter, and Vivian Maier to capture 
the grain and soot of a postwar Manhat- 
tan in transition to the booming Mad 
Men era soon to come. It’s a wintry city of 
lonely, Edward Hopper-esque spaces 
that, in Highsmith’s description, was 
marked by “that reddish-brown confu- 
sion of the side street” with its “familiar 
hodgepodge of restaurant and bar signs, 
awnings, front steps and windows.” 

24 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 





Spring Fire 


If you were a lesbian in the 1950s, 
you were almost certainly bewil- 
dered, isolated, and desperate for 
information. And then, out of the 
miraculous blue, came the lesbian 
pulp paperbacks, written by and for women you 
recognized, women in love with other women, 
women of energy and passion. Their joy in each 
other overcame the crises in their lives. In Spring 
Fire, I read about two beautiful college students. 
I was too naive to recognize them as classic models 
of butch and femme, but no depths of ignorance 
could mask the delight and relief I felt, reading 
about their emotional life. 

—Ann Bannon, novelist, the “Beebo Brinker” series 

The “Beebo Brinker” series 


Beebo Brinker, the protagonist in 
this series, was tall, handsome, and 
very butch. She refused to wear 
dresses or skirts and would not take 
a job that required her to wear 
“feminine” clothing. When I was coming out in 
the early 1980s, I was smitten and spent many 
nights fantasizing about what it would be like to 
be her girl. Thank God for Beebo! 

— Leslea Newman, author. Heather Has Two 
Mommies and Oetober Mourning: A Song for 
Matthew Shepard 

Eye to Eye: Portraits of Lesbi- 
ans, Photographs by JEB 1979 
The women in these portraits 
were some of the first dykes I 
ever laid eyes on, and the book 
felt like a lost family album. 
Joan E. Biren, who went by 
JEB, explained how she got 
started photographing lesbi- 
ans: I had never seen a picture 
of two women kissing, and I wanted to see it. So 
she took a picture of herself kissing her lover. 
—Alison Bechdel, graphic novelist. Fun Home 
and Dykes to Wateh Out For 

Harriet the Spy 


I knew there was something up 
with Harriet, and I didn’t have the 
language to talk about it. But there 
was some way that Fitzhugh con- 
structed that kid that was really a 
portrait of the artist as a young lesbian. The way 
she felt about her friends nothing was romantic 
or weird, but it was really clear. 

—Christine Vachon, co-founder. Killer Films; 
producer, Carol 

Sex Variant Women in Literature 


Foster an unobtrusive dyke-librarian for many 
years at the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research 
had to publish this magnificent bibliographic 

survey and labor of love herself (no 
legitimate publisher would touch 
it), and it has remained sublimely 
out of print pretty much ever since. 
Yet Foster offers nothing less than 
an encyclopedic history of lesbian- 
ism in Western literature from 
Greek antiquity to the 1950s. The mode is at once 
scholarly, compassionate, and weirdly ravishing. 
—Terry Castle, author. The Literature of Lesbian- 
ism: A Historieal Anthology From Ariosto to 
Stonewall and The Professor: A Sentimental 

Tve Heard the Mermaids 
Singing 1987 

Up until this totally lost gem by 
Patricia Rozema came out, 
pretty much every lesbian 
movie was about lesbians who 
didn’t know they were lesbians 
and had been in a horrible rela- 
tionship with a really shitty 
man. I loved the political statements that this 
film made, and the fact that there were lesbians 
who were lesbians with no other explanation. 
—Lea DeLaria, singer and actress. 

Orange Is the New Blaek 

Rachel and the Seven Wonders 


Syrett, a “New Woman” English 
novelist and playwright, put all 
her soaring feminism and sex- 
and-gender-liberating imagi- 
nation into Rachel’s adventures 
in the ancient world accessed through a 
secret portal in the British Museum by a mys- 
terious magician. The Aubrey Beardsley-style 
illustrations by Joyce Mercer are as emanci- 
pating as the text. For girls and others. 

-Joan Schenkar, playwright. Signs of Life-, 
biographer. The Talented Miss Highsmith 

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name 


A smart black gay girl from the 
Caribbean, growing up in NYC and 
dealing with the racism at Hunter 
High School, having affairs with 
other girls and learning to be a poet. 
Both author and subject wanted adventure and 
agency. They didn’t yearn to get married, be 
monogamous, join the military. They broke rules. 
—Sarah Schulman, novelist. People in Trouble 
and The Cosmopolitans (forthcoming) 

Say Jesus and Gome to Me 


A Steamy novel that took on race, 
patriarchy, religion, and sexuality 
and had, at its center, two black 
women falling in love: This book 
was truly a revelation. And a sexy 

one at that. 

— Yoruba Richen, director. The New Blaek 

Most of all, Carol upholds Highsmith’s 
vision of her characters. “What still strikes 
me now,” Nagy says of the novel, “is how 
radical it was in terms of its overall concep- 
tion-two central figures not giving a rat’s 
ass about sexual identity. No one frets 
about being gay; others fret on their 
behalf.” The men who do fret (or worse)— 
Carol’s husband (Kyle Chandler) and 
Therese’s intended (Jake Lacy)— are not 
presented as arch-villains; they are men of 
their time, as much baffled as judgmental 
and punitive. This is not their story, in any 
case. We see everything from the two 
women’s points of view. 

Throughout, Haynes’s direction trans- 
lates Highsmith’s hushed, spare, unnerving 
narrative voice into visual terms reminis- 
cent of James Stewart’s feverish fixation on 
Kim Novak in Vertigo. Therese’s monoma- 
niacal passion for Carol is a kind of stalking, 
not unlike that of the male (and often 
implicitly gay) stalkers who commit mur- 
der in other Highsmith works. When 
Therese and Carol go on the lam— in a 
cross-country road trip that strikes some 
contemporaiy readers of Highsmith’s novel 
as the immediate precursor of those in 
Lolita and On the Road— one of them packs 
a gun. But it is the crime of same-sex love, 
not murder, that has turned them into 
unlikely outlaws, and their sotto voce crimi- 
nality is not to be confused with Thelma & 
Louise. Society dictates that Therese and 
Carol must act in code, much of it wordless, 
as they traipse across a barren swath of the 
Midwest. Which in turn means that Carol 
could not exist as a film without two actors 
capable of conveying so much intimacy 
with so little dialogue. By the end, we are 
locked into the delicate nuances of the cou- 
ple’s own private language to such a degree 
that Blanchett can move an audience to 
tears with nothing more than an enigmatic 
half-formed smile that is the movie’s final, 
indelible image. 

It’s hard to appreciate now the impact 
Highsmith’s book had on gay women when 
it was first published. “It was for many 
years the only lesbian novel, in either hard 
or soft cover, with a happy ending,” wrote 
Marijane Meaker in a wry 2003 memoir 
about her romance with Highsmith circa 
i 960 . Under the pseudonym Vin Packer, 
Meaker herself wrote a lesbian pulp novel. 
Spring Fire, published the same year as The 
Priee of Salt, in which one woman ends up 
returning to heterosexuality and another 
ends up in a mental institution, because an 
editor instructed her that only an unhappy 
ending could protect the book from being 
seized by the postal authorities as “obscene.” 

Ellen Violett, now 90 and married to her 
partner of nearly 45 years, is a fabled televi- 

Illustrations hy Tony Millionaire 


Shockproof Sydney Skate 


I wish my first glimpse of les- 
bian culture had come from 
this hilarious, glamorous, and 
aspirational novel about a teen- 
ager who, unbeknownst to his 
mother, has unlocked the secrets of the 
coded language she uses when gossiping 
with her lesbian circle. Those witty, beauti- 
fully attired, hard-drinking New Yorkers 
sometimes found true love and sometimes 
got their hearts broken, but they always 
seemed glad to be gay. (Instead, it was Going 
Down WithJanis, a biography of Janis Joplin 
that had been passed around school so many 
times the pages featuring lesbian sex scenes 
were almost transparent.) 

-June Thomas, editor. Outward at Slate 


We Too Are Drifting/ 

Torchlight to Valhalla 

Originally published by Random 
^ i House as hardbacks, Wilhelm’s 
— \ first two novels were written only 

ten years later than Radclyffe 
Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, but were worlds 
away in their lesbian-centric happy endings. 
These books are great to read both because 
they are classic and not unhappy lesbian 
stories and because it is remarkable to realize 
just howthey were received at the time. Despite 
their lesbian content, even Kirkus Reviews 
wrote positively about both novels. 

—Eliza Byard, executive director, GLSEN 

Bagdad Cafe 1937 
Even though there’s no great 
romance or sex scene, the 
care the two women in this 
film have for each other 
that somehow they were 
more complete together 
than they were apart really 
impressed me. It’s strangely romantic, as is the 
setting and the song “Calling You.” 

—Rose Troche, filmmaker. Go Fish’, 
producer, Coneussion and The L Word 

Les Guerilleres 



When I first read the short 
blocl^ paragraphs that make up 
Wittig’s all-out Amazonian war 
* of the sexes, I was blown away by 
the language: incantatory, raw, and sexual, and 
yet also weirdly clinical at times. Then I read 
The Lesbian Body, its logical sequel of sorts a 
novel about invading a lover’s body and I 
thought the world had shattered. Here was a 
frankly lesbian love so darkly celebratory, so 
fierce and violent, that it couldn’t be contained 
by corporality. 

—Achy Obejas, novelist. Days of Awe 

Angry Women 



It is hilariously dated in some 
ways (the Medusa cover), and 
more seriously so in others 
(the urgency of aids), but the 
fact remains that nearly every single artist pro- 
filed in this anthology either was or has since 
become incredibly important to me. 

—Maggie Nelson, memoirist. The Argonauts 

il# Madchen in Uniform 1931 

L i.j' I first discovered this in the wom- 

Vi ^ 1 en’s film festivals of the 1970s, 

I f pierced to the heart by the scene 

of a besotted Manuela winning 
a kiss good-night from Fraulein 
von Bemburg, everyone’s favorite 
boarding-school teacher. I began to track the 
film like a private eye. 

— B. Ruby Rich, author. New Queer Cinema: 
The Direetor’s Cut’, editor. Film Quarterly 

Personal Best 


Team Dresch was a rock 
band from the Pacific 
Northwest consisting of 
four out-and-proud lesbi- 
ans. This record changed 
my life; it marked the first 
time that a narrative didn’t 
require an act of subtle translation. I didn’t 
have to reimagine that the longing was about a 
girl because the longing was in fact about a girl. 
It’s one thing to listen to music and think. This 
is who I want to he, and another to listen and to 
know. This is who I am. 

—Carrie Brownstein, actress {Portlandia, 
Carol), musician (Sleater-Kinney), 
memoirist. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl 

S.C.U.M. Manifesto 


Too crazy too angry, too deviant, 
too lesbian Valerie Solanas, the 
woman who shot Andy Warhol, 
has been a notorious footnote in 
feminist history. But my view of 
female rage changed forever when I discovered 
her, the killjoy whose S.C.UM. Manifesto was 
payback for the brutality of an unjust world, 
written by a woman who wouldn’t apologize or 
just fade away. 

—Amy Scholder, literary editor 

Star Trek: The Next 
Generation 1937 
Before I found gay punk rock, 
or even subliminally homo- 
erotic cartoons, I had Tasha 
Yar, chief of security on the 
Enterprise (and an androgy- 
nous female lead with a nebulous love life who 
co-parented with a Romulan and lost her life 
battling Armus the slime alien). Tasha helped 
me see myself my rejection of softness. 
-Cristy C. Road, artist, graphic novelist, 

Trash: Short Stories 


^ reading years ago, Dorothy 
Wfil' Alison smiled in her knowing, 
southern way and said, “I’ma 
fuck you up.” I laughed, we all 
did, but underneath the breezy 
sentiment lay the startling truth: She 
does fuck you up brutally, irrevocably, 
magnificently and sometimes all those ways 
at once. She articulates our fears and desires 
in a voice so haunting and lustful it’s as if she 
were speaking in two or three languages. 
Plus, her use of eggplant as foreplay deserves 
an award. 

—Anna Pulley, author. The Lesbian Sex 
Haiku Book (With Cats) (forthcoming) 

Visit for ten more contributions. 

sion dramatist whose career began in the 
early 1950s and who traveled in some of 
Highsmith’s New York circles. She recalls 
how joyous it was to have a first gay affair 
and discover that you “didn’t die.” But she 
adds that “once you broke up, you had no 
one to talk to except a Freudian analyst or a 
priest.” For many isolated gay women and 
some gay men as well, Salt was a lifeline 
that helped fill that void. After it was pub- 
lished, “Claire Morgan,” via her publisher, 
was inundated by letters fi’om readers eager 
to converse with the writer who had told 
them that they were not alone and all was 
not lost. As Fran Lebowitz points out, in the 
decades of the closet, at least gay boys dis- 
covering their sexuality knew there were 
others like them— if only because of the 
negative indicators of bullying and the 
ubiquity of slurs like “faggot.” For lesbians, 
invisibility was its own kind of torment. “I 
read eveiy possible thing that had any pos- 
sible allusion to homosexuality because 
that’s where you find yourself,” Lebowitz 
says. The letters Highsmith received from 
readers were alternately appreciative that 
her characters didn’t end up committing 
suicide and suffused with the loneliness of 
not being able to talk to anyone else who 
was gay, particularly if the correspondent 
lived in a small town. Highsmith would 
suggest moving to a larger town, but she 
knew that was no panacea. “Those were the 
days,” she later wrote, “when gay bars were 
a dark door somewhere in Manhattan, 
where people wanting to go to a certain bar 
got off the subway a station before or after 
the convenient one, lest they be suspected 
of being homosexual.” 

I F JUDGED by contemporary dic- 
tates of political correctness, High- 
smith is about the last poster 
woman for gay fiction and gay 
rights anyone would choose, and 
she’s all the more compelling and 
challenging for that reason. She 
has been the subject of two fat and captivat- 
ing (if tonally antithetical) posthumous 
biographies, Andrew Wilson’s Beautiful 
Shadow (2003) and Joan Schenkar’s The 
Talented Miss Highsmith (2009). High- 
smith is almost impossible to shoehorn into 
any categoiy— political, literaiy, or psycho- 
logical. She was an anti-Semite who revered 
Saul Bellow over all contemporaiy Ameri- 
can authors. She was a fearless and indepen- 
dent woman who had no use for feminists. 
(As indeed some feminists had no use for 
lesbians; The historian Lillian Faderman 
writes in her authoritative new book. The 
(Gay Revolution, of how Betty Friedan com- 
plained that the so-called Lavender Menace 
“was warping the image of the woman’s 

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movement”) As ayoung woman, Highsmith 
was moved by the Spanish Civil War to 
join the Young Communist League; she 
was antiwar in the Vietnam era and an 
environmentalist. But her views on race 
were anything but progressive. In New 
York in the late ’50s, Meaker knew the 
playwright Lorraine Hansberry, a closeted 
lesbian, but Highsmith spurned an invita- 
tion to attend an early screening of the film 
version oL4 Raisin in the Sun. “I know the 
plot,” Highsmith explained to Meaker. 
“Colored person thwarted, then colored 
person triumphant. It’s not my concern.” 

The only consistent things about High- 
smith are her tumultuous love affairs, which 
were nonstop from her teens until a few 
years before her death at age 74, her 
unchecked alcoholism, her tireless work 
ethic, and her misanthropic take on the 
human race. The misanthropy was well 
earned. Her mother, a commercial illustra- 
tor who divorced Pat’s father nine days 
before her birth and married a stepfather 
she hated three years later, took it upon her- 
self to inform her daughter that she had 
tried to abort her mid-pregnancy by drink- 
ing turpentine. “It’s funny, you adore the 
smell of turpentine, Pat,” she added. 

“Work is the only thing of importance or 
joy in life,” Highsmith wrote in a notebook 
in 1972. But her writing career was far from 
easy. Early on, she met with William Shawn 
at The New Yorker and wrote some “Talk of 
the Town” pieces on spec, but nothing came 
of it, and despite her efforts thereafter, no 
Highsmith story was published in the mag- 
azine until seven years after her death. 
(During her lifetime, her stories frequently 
found a home in Ellery Queens Mystery 
Magazine^ Her reviews were often favor- 
able, and she had a few prominent literary 
champions, including Graham Greene. The 
film adaptations of her work gave her a 
slight celebrity and some subsidiary income 
(though she always complained of how 
Hitchcock secured the rights to her first 
novel in perpetuity for $7,500). But while 
her books had a loyal following in Europe, 
in the estimate of her longtime editor Larry 
Ashmead, she never sold more than 8,000 
copies of a novel in hardcover at home. 

Highsmith was about the work, not self- 
promotion, and her gruff personality was 
anything but user-friendly. Short of J. D. 
Salinger, she was probably the least likely 
author to sit for a magazine profile or 
exchange quips on television with Dick 
Cavett. Her one major television interview, 
with Melvyn Bragg on London Weekend 
Television’s prestigious South Bank Show in 
the early ’80s, was laconic and dour. It 

For David Edelstein’s review q/’Carol, see page 94. 

didn’t help her career with American read- 
ers, either, that she moved to Europe for 
good in 1963, bouncing around England, 
France, and Italy before finally ending up in 
the tiny town of Tegna in Switzerland. She 
retained her American citizenship but was 
periodically dropped by her American pub- 
lishers. When her final novel was rejected 
by her last imprint, Knopf, she died, in 
1995, without one. 

Not all of Highsmith’s books are equal, 
but she has a disorienting voice that’s all its 
own: stripped of literary ornamentation, 
devoid of sentimentality, and lacking a 
moral compass, no matter how horrific the 
behavior of her characters or the suffering 
of their victims. Almost every film adapta- 
tion of her work before Carol, starting with 
Hitchcock’s first, has bowdlerized her end- 
ings, whether by excising a final murder or 
insisting that a killer be brought to justice. 
That’s not Highsmith. “I find the public pas- 
sion for justice quite boring and artificial, 
for neither life nor nature cares if justice is 
ever done or not,” she explained in her 1966 
book Plotting and Writing Suspense Fie- 
tion. Told at one point by an agent that her 
books don’t sell in America because the 
people in them are unlikable, she responded 
that “perhaps it is because I don’t like any- 
one” and proposed that in the future she 
write about animals. Indeed, her 1975 story 
collection. The Animal-Lovers’ Book of 
Beastly Murder, is about pets that kill their 
human masters. (Her own favorite animals 
were snails, which she smuggled through 
customs by hiding a half-dozen or so under 
each of her breasts.) In truth she often iden- 
tified with her most amoral human pro- 
tagonists, from the psychopathic Bruno of 
Strangers on a Train (“I love him!”) to Tom 
Ripley. In the early 1970s Highsmith con- 
templated writing a novel, as her biogra- 
pher Wilson describes it, about a character 
obsessed with “the detritus of modern liv- 
ing-waste material including abortions, 
the contents of toilets, bedpans, diapers, 
hysterectomies.” And who might that char- 
acter be? She answered the question in her 
diaiy— “myself” 

As a person, Highsmith was no less origi- 
nal and no less thorny. One of her last 
American publishers, Otto Penzler of Mys- 
terious Press, who published seven of her 
books in the ’80s, told Schenkar that while 
he was a fan of Highsmith’s work, he found 
her “a horrible human being” consistent 
with her characters, whom he described as 
“mean-spirited people” with “no humanity, 
no spirit of shared experience.” Nagy, not yet 
a screenwriter but a young researcher at 
The New York Times Magazine when she 
met Highsmith in New York in the late ’80s, 
came away with a kinder judgment. Nagy 

had been assigned to be Highsmith’s com- 
panion on a walking tour of the Green- 
Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn for a feature 
that was never published. (Highsmith was 
the magazine’s second choice, after Ruth 
Rendell declined.) When Nagy picked the 
novelist up at the Gramercy Park Hotel, she 
found a “little crumpled woman in the cor- 
ner, who looked sort of like Jimmy Durante 
in a trench coat— scary, formidable.” In a 
brief exchange about the theater— Nagy 
was an aspiring playwright— Highsmith 
allowed that she had seen and liked Sam 
Shepard’s Fool for Love, then fell into silence 
for 90 minutes. She was scarcely more com- 
municative during the graveyard tour, but 
once it was over that morning, she told 
Nagy, “I don’t need you, but I need a drink,” 
and offered her Scotch from her hip flask 
“as a challenge.” Then Highsmith invited 
her to lunch, “which consisted of beers in 
her hotel room.” A warm friendship and 
correspondence ensued. “She’d come to 
New York every so often,” Nagy recalls. 
“Every time she came she wanted to be 
taken to one of the old gay bars of her youth, 
but they were different in her dotage.” 

They remained in touch until Highsmith 
took ill the year before she died. To the sur- 
prise of many, she left her entire estate and 
future royalties to Yaddo, the writers’ and 
artists’ colony in upstate New York where 
she’d spent part of the summer of 1948 
working on Strangers on a Train, just a few 
months before she would meet her “Carol” 
at Bloomingdale’s. That residency had been 
secured largely through the intercession of 
Truman Capote, a fiJend at the time, and it 
had not been repeated in the nearly half- 
century since. Nonetheless, “she felt Yaddo 
was the only place that really nurtured her,” 
Nagy says. 

“I never think about my ‘place’ in litera- 
ture, and perhaps I have none,” Highsmith 
once said. Her work, while respected, is 
usually relegated to a rung below those 
who wrote in roughly her sphere like 
James M. Cain (whom she admired, 
rightly, as “a kind of genius”) and Jim 
Thompson. Do the travails of both her life 
and career have anything to do with the 
fact that her sex life was condemned as a 
perversion and punishable as a crime in 
the country of her birth? Highsmith was 
not prone to self-pity or self-martyrdom, 
and it’s hard to imagine that she would say 
so. In any case, it’s a question that can 
never be definitively answered. The ques- 
tion that can be answered is what other 
writers and artists and cultural treasures 
might have fallen through the cracks in the 
pre-Stonewall era. Carol is certain to bring 
new readers to Highsmith, and once they 
dig in, they will be ravenous for more. ■ 

28 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 



( 212 ) 680-0012 ( 212 ) 835-2695 ( 914 ) 948-2677 ( 631 ) 271-1180 






FOR THE MOMENT, the face belongs to 
no one. It floats in a bowl of icy, hemo- 
dynamic preserving solution, paused 
midway on its journey from one operat- 
ing room to another, from a 26-year-old 
Brooklyn bike mechanic who’d been 
declared brain-dead 48 hours earlier to 
a 41-year-old Mississippi fireman whose 
face had burned off in a blaze 14 years 
ago. The mechanic’s face, though nearly 
fiat, still bears a few reminders of its for- 
mer owner: a stubble of dark-blond 
hair, pierced ears, a hook-shaped scar at 
the spot where surgeons had entered his 
skull trying to save his life. A surgeon 
reaches his gloved hands into the blood- 
tinged liquid and kneads the face, 
draining the last of the mechanic’s 
blood. Then he lifts the face up to a cam- 
era, showing off his handiwork. As he 
raises it, it seems to inflate and take the 
shape of a face again, one that no longer 
resembles the cyclist. The forehead is 
shorter, the cheeks puffier. The lips have 
fallen into a crescent, as if smiling. The 
face looks like it will when, an hour later, 
it is fitted over the raw skull of the 
fireman waiting in the next room. 

Patrick Hardison’s 
face was not 
always his own. 

Three months ago, 
it belonged to 
a young Brooklyn 
bike mechanic. 

By Steve Fishman 

Photograph hy NORMAN JEAN ROY 

73 days 
after surgery. 


30 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


S EPTEMBER 5, 2001, was abeautiflillate-summer day 
in Senatobia, a town of 1,497 families in northwest Mis- 
sissippi, not far from the Tennessee border. Business at 
Senatobia Tire off Main Street was slow, and when 
owner Patrick Hardison had seen the Senatobia Fire 
Department dispatcher at lunch, he had needled him, 
half in jest: “Get us a call.” Hardison, 27 at the time and a volunteer 
for seven years, had known most of the 30 other volunteers since 
they were schoolkids; they’d hunted and fished together, then in 
their 20s signed up to fight fires together. 

The two-tone alarm emitted by the pager on Hardison’s belt 
sounded at about 1 p.m. Speeding up Main Street in his Chevy 
pickup, Hardison could get to the firehouse in just a few minutes. 
Only the first arrivals got seats on the truck, and a seat meant you’d 
fight the fire. “You wanted to be the one telling the story, not listen- 
ing to the fun other guys had,” Hardison said. That day, Hardison 
pulled up just in time, beating out his former brother-in-law for 
one of the spots. When the volunteers arrived at the mobile home 
15 miles away, flames were shooting through the roof “The worst 
fire I’ve ever seen,” said Bricl^ Cole, one of the volunteers that day 
and the husband of Hardison’s cousin. 

Both of the family’s cars were parked outside the mobile 
home, and a man was in the yard screaming, insisting his wife 
was still inside. Hardison and three other firefighters entered the 
house, turned into a living-room area, then into what looked like 
a den. The ceiling was already collapsing in sections; not 
seeing anyone, Hardison backed out of the door. Then he 
spotted a window and climbed through it back into the 
burning structure. 

A few minutes later, Hardison’s chief screamed for his 
people to get out. Hardison was retreating when the ceiling 
collapsed on his head and shoulders. He fell to his knees. 

He could feel his mask melting and wrestled it off He held his 
breath and closed his eyes, which spared his lungs and preserved 
his vision. Somehow he made his way back to the window. A fire- 
man pulled him out. 

Hardison’s face was on fire. Another fireman doused the flames 
with water. Cole held him as the paramedics slid an IV line into his 
arm, though Cole didn’t know who the burned man was. “His face 
was smoking and flesh was melting ofi^’ Cole recalled. “It was all char.” 
At about that time, the woman who they thought was trapped in the 
house walked up the road. She’d been fishing at a nearby stream. 


I NSEPTEMBER2001, David Rodebaugh was 12 years old and 
living in Columbus, Ohio, where he was on his way to becoming 
an accomplished skateboarder, snowboarder, and BMX biker. 
He could do backward somersaults in the air and 360-degree heli- 
copters, swinging his bike in a complete circle. Rodebaugh bounced 
around as a kid. Later, his mother, father, and both grandmothers 
would all claim to have done the lion’s share of raising him. Rode- 
baugh couldn’t sit still for school, but there was little he couldn’t do 
with his hands. At 20, he announced he wanted to move to New 
York. Neither his mother, Nancy Millar, nor his father, Gregg Rode- 
baugh, believed in reining him in. “I never put a leash on him,” 
recalled Millar. “Just call me before the ambulance does, that’s all.” 

In 2009, Rodebaugh landed in Brooklyn among the hard-core 
bike-messenger community. “We live by the bike. We ride hard as 
fuck. We own the streets. We are the streets,” said A1 Lopez, whose 
one-man messenger company is called Cannonball Couriers. Lopez 
took to Rodebaugh immediately: “He was down. He was fun. He 

was smart. He was a bro.” Lopez got to know him through the Lock 
Foot Posi, an insular gang of a dozen or so cyclists (“Lock Foot” 
refers to the way to brake on a gearless bike). “We’re like from the 
land of the misfit toys,” said Lopez. “Rejected from a larger mass 
but united through a kind of personal dysfunction. We’re our own 
family. Dave fit right in with us.” 


I N SEPTEMBER 2001, Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, then 34, was 
in his ninth year of medical training. The son of Cuban immi- 
grants, he grew up in Miami and held the ambitions of many 
first-generation Americans. “I wanted to make money, raise a family, 
be a professional.” So he set out to become a dentist. In 1994, he was 
doing a residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Montefiore 
hospital in the Bronx, when Dr. Arthur Adamo, director of the pro- 
gram, took him aside and told him he was impressed with his surgi- 
cal skills. “You’re better than most people at this; you’re better than 
me,” Adamo said. It was the moment Rodriguez’s ambitions started 
to become grander. He studied surgeiy at Johns Hopkins and micro- 
surgery in Taiwan. He finished his 16 years of training at age 37, an 
elite plastic surgeon with a specialty in reconstructive surgeiy. 

Rodriguez was introduced to the possibility of face transplants in 
2003. At a medical conference, a surgeon showed photos of a brown 
rat with a white face and a white rat with a brown face. She’d trans- 
ferred one to the other. It seemed little more than a surgical stunt, 
but the next year, two French doctors transplanted part of a face onto 
a 38-year-old woman who’d been mauled by a dog. Nine years later 
in the medical journal The Lancet, Rodriguez and co-authors 
reviewed the 28 face transplants that had been performed in 
the world. Most were partial— the French woman received 
a nose, cheeks, lips, and a chin. Rodriguez thought the field 
was ready to take bolder steps. “From a moral standpoint, if 
we were going to push patients to the possibility of death, the 
reward has to be great. Why risk it with a mediocre result?” 
The Department of Defense, hoping to help wounded soldiers, 
expressed an interest in funding his work. But it wanted proof of 
concept. To satisfy the DOD, Rodriguez transplanted a face from one 
live monkey onto another. Then, in 2012, at the University of Mary- 
land, Rodriguez performed his first human transplant, on a man 
whose face had been shot off. It was the first surgeiy to replace, in 
addition to the face, the jaws, teeth, and tongue. 

In 2013, Rodriguez became the chair of plastic surgeiy at NYU’s 
Langone Medical Center and began to assemble a team to perform 
facial transplants— surgeries which can cosf including pre- and post- 
operative care, nearly $1 million. He and his surgeons spent hours 
practicing removing faces from 14 cadavers. “We had to be able to do 
this thing in our sleep,” he said. 

Rodriguez is a lean, imposing six-foot-three. He never raises his 
voice, no matter the subject, and he brims with confidence, some 
would say arrogance. “When I put my mind to something, it’s going 
to happen,” he told me. A year into his tenure at NYU, Rodriguez felt 
his team was ready to attempt another transplant— this one more 
extensive than any performed before. He even had a patient in mind. 
He had first met Hardison in 2012, when he was on the faculty at 
Maryland, and he immediately understood the opportunity the 
former firefighter presented. “Patrick was the ideal patient,” he 
recalled. Now all they needed was a face. 


I N PHOTOS TAKEN BEFORE the fire, Hardison has a pleasant, 
unassertive face, with round cheeks, blue eyes, and blond hair 
curling over his forehead. His face was a backdrop to his patter, 
which was fnendly and constant. It’s part of what made him a good 

Hardison in 
2015, before 
his face 

32 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


salesman. “People came for tires and walked out with wheels,” said 
Bill Weeks, his fiiend and fellow firefighter. Some days, he netted 
$10,000. “Money in your pocket,” Hardison said. At 26, he purchased 
his dream home, a four-bedroom on 20 acres “with a shop and an 
inground pool aud a two-stoiy playhouse.” He and his second wife, 
Chrissi, had three kids at the time, one each from previous relation- 
ships and another together. “I planned to retire at 40,” he said. 

Sixty-three days after the fire, Hardison returned home fi'om the 
regional medical center in Memphis wrapped in gauze, his eyes 
sewn shut. “He came home mummied,” said Chrissi. “He wouldn’t 
look in the mirror for a long time.” Just two years into their mar- 
riage, Chrissi became his nurse, feeding him, bathing him. “He was 
depressed and angiy at the world, understandably,” she said. Some- 
times he’d wander off into the acres around their house and Chrissi 
would call his firefighter buddies to track him down. 

Hardison had 71 surgeries over a dozen years. Doctors took flesh 
from his thighs and pulled it over his skull. “Gradually, his head 
began to look like a head,” said Chrissi. A surgeon implanted mag- 
netized pegs— osteointegrated implants— in the sides of his head 
to which prosthetic ears could be attached. Eventually, surgeons 
turned his lips inside out to give him the semblance of a mouth. The 
ongoing concern, though, was his eyes. He had no eyelids to protect 
his corneas. Doctors fashioned a cone of skin where his eyelids once 
were— it looked like a lizard’s eye. That offered some protection, 
though Hardison still couldn’t blink. At night, he pressed his eyes 
shut with his fingers. Not that he slept much. It was better not to. 
He had nightmares that he was back in the fire. 

Life for Chrissi, once a stay-at-home mom, was difficult, too. 
“You left for work one day the person I married and came home a 
stranger,” she told him. “It’s almost like I have to treat you as if you 
died.” Money troubles increased the stress. Hardison received 
Workers’ Comp, but the amount was based on his earnings as a 
firefighter— $15 per fire. He received a federal disability check for 
$1,200 a month, plus some funds from a private insurance policy. 
It was not nearly enough. The couple lost their dream home and 
their cars and moved in with Chrissi’s mother. “We did what we had 
to do to survive,” she said. 


R odebaugh was six- one with blue eyes and blond hair 
that he grew past his shoulders. In photos, he has a long, 
animated face. By all accounts, he was a talker. “He knew 
everything and everybody. His stories were bigger than life,” said 
Brian Gluck, owner of the Red Lantern, a bike shop, cafe, and bar 
on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. Rodebaugh would casually mention 
that he’d raced cars and jumped out of a helicopter on a snowboard. 
Some sensed insecurity and wondered if he stretched the truth. But 
then the stories turned out to be true— at least, there usually seemed 
to be a detail or a person who lent credence to them. One thing was 
certain: Rodebaugh was a loyal fiiend. He would ride his bike three 
miles in the snow to help fix your car. He would stick up for you in a 
bar fight. Rodebaugh lost a fi'ont tooth defending Lopez once, and 
he never replaced the tooth. He couldn’t afibrd to but also seemed 
proud of it, evidence of his toughness. In a photo, a girlfiJend with 
long dark hair lies next to him, her finger over the gap in his smile. 
Women were drawn to Rodebaugh. “He had a brute macho,” said 
Lopez. “He always had beautiful girlfiiends.” 

In 2014, Rodebaugh won the Red Bull-sponsored Brooklyn 
Mini Drome, ten laps around a steeply banked oval loop that he 
helped build, which made him something of a celebrity in Brook- 
lyn-cyclist circles. Still, he couldn’t pay rent. For a year, he lived in a 
van— a VW Vanagon with a pop-up roof that served as transport to 
bike races as far away as Texas, though most of the time he parked 
it outside the East River Bar, a favorite of the Lock Foot Posi. Once, 

he found the van booted and managed to disassemble the lock on 
the wheel, but another time the van was towed. Rodebaugh had 
accumulated so many tickets that it wasn’t worth paying to get the 
van back. He couch-surfed for awhile. “I get your stress, bro,” Lopez 
told him. “You got no chill”— no place to repair to and unwand. 

And then, as often happened, Rodebaugh landed on his feet. In 
June 2015, he found a job as a bike mechanic— he was “a good 
wrench,” as mechanics say— at the Red Lantern. Gluck remembered 
the day he hired him. Rodebaugh drove his BMXbike into the shop 
and didn’t dismount. “He was sweating like hell and wasn’t wearing 
a shirt,” said Gluck. Rodebaugh said nonchalantly, “I hear you need 
a mechanic,” and reeled off the names of bike shops where he’d 
worked. Later, Gluck wondered why he’d worked at so many places, 
but he did need a mechanic— the peak season was starting. Gluck 
hired him for $15 an hour, enough to pay rent for a while. 


H ardison said that his life had “skidded to a halt” the 
day of the accident, but that was a conclusion he drew 
years later. At the time, he charged ahead, refusing to 
admit he was disabled. “Just different,” he insisted. “From here 
down, I was good to go,” he said, holding his hand at chin level. He 
and Chrissi had two more kids, two boys, one born in 2003, the 
other in 2004. They were unplanned but welcome. “They were his 
saving grace,” Chrissi said. “He had people who knew him only as 
he was and loved him unconditionally anyway.” The boys giggled 
when he snapped off a prosthetic ear, held it in the air, and said, “I 
can’t ear you.” They asked their friends, “Can your daddy do that?” 

In 2003, Hardison returned to the tire business, opening a new 
shop with a partner. Even with his injured face, business was great 
for awhile, recalled Travis McDonald, afirend and employee. Flush 
again, Hardison built a 7,000-square-foot house on two lots in 

From One 
Face to 

taken directly 
from medical 

Over the course of 
12 hours, the donor’s face 
was removed intact. 

In another operating 
room, Hardison’s scarred 
facial tissue was cut away. 

34 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 



Bartlett Woods, a tony development in Senatobia. He hoped to sell 
it but in the meantime moved in his family. “It was more space than 
we could ever use,” said Chrissi, but it was a relief after living on top 
of one another at her mother’s. His friends were duly impressed, 
though some worried that he was overreaching. Chrissi under- 
stood. “He was trying to prove that no matter what happened, he 
could still take care of his family,” she explained. 

To outsiders, Hardison’s life seemed to be on track once again. 
But close friends saw a dark side. He underwent an average of 
seven operations a year. That kept him away from the shop for long 
periods, and it kept him in pain. “How could you not be addicted 
to pain pills?” said his boyhood fiiend and fellow firefighter Jimmie 
Neal. “He felt he needed those medications to survive.” Oxycodone 
became so normal, said McDonald, “he almost didn’t know he was 
high.” But others did. “My medicine problem,” as Hardison later 
referred to it, affected his judgment. “He quit running his business 
the way it should have been run,” said McDonald. “Things that 
were important weren’t important anymore. Like paying his bills.” 
When the prescriptions ran out, he found other ways to procure 
the painkillers. He later was arrested for forging a prescription and 
bouncing a check. 

For a second time, Hardison’s life tumbled down around him. In 
2007, he declared bankruptcy and lost the house. “I kept trying not 
to fail, but I couldn’t beat it,” he said. “I felt like a failure.” 

The next year, he and Chrissi divorced after ten years of marriage. 
“It had been such a long road,” she said. “I felt guilty, but we were in 
a very destructive place. We weren’t beneficial to each other emo- 
tionally. Pat had some things he had to go through. And there was 
nothing that anyone could do to help him.” 

Hardison had joint custody of the kids, but when they left his 
apartment for school, he had nothing to do. “People don’t under- 
stand how hard it is just to face the day. And it doesn’t end. It’s eveiy 
day,” he said. The worst development was that, with no eyelids, his 
vision began to decline. He had to stop driving. “I was a 40-year-old 
man waiting for my mother to drive me around,” he said. “I lost 
everything. I was so young.” 

When he met Rodriguez in 2012, the surgeon told him he could 
treat Hardison’s most pressing medical problem by performing an 
eyelid transplant. But Rodriguez also proposed a bolder solution: 
an entirely new face, scalp, ears, nose, lips, everything he’d lost in 
the fire. “We’re going to make you normal,” Rodriguez promised. 

But first Hardison would have to make it through NYU’s elabo- 
rate review process, which meant he would have to deal with his 
painkiller addiction. Rodriguez extracted a promise. Hardison 
couldn’t seek narcotics from any physician but Rodriguez’s team. If 
he did, he wouldn’t get the surgery. 

Rodriguez warned Hardison that the surgery had only a 50 per- 
cent chance of success. This would be the most extensive face trans- 
plant yet performed— including the entire scalp, ears, and eyelids. 
“You have to remove the old face to the bare bones,” he explained. 
“You have to understand: If it were to fail, there is no bailout option. 

The donor’s face 
was transferred in 
preserving solution. 

The face was attached 
at the cheekbones, chin, 
and nose with screws. 
Some nerves were connected; 
others would regenerate. 

After the major veins were 
connected, Hardison’s 
new face swelled by 
50 percent, but the swelling 
would gradually go down. 

You would likely die. This is a procedure that is all or none.” 

Hardison’s kids were scared. “They didn’t understand why he’d 
take the chance,” explained Chrissi. “They loved him as he was. To 
them, he was normal.” The younger son had a nightmare that sur- 
geons turned his father into a monster. But Hardison had already 
reached the point of all or none. “Kids ran screaming and crying 
when they saw me,” he said. “There are things worse than dying.” 


O N WEDNESDAY, July 22, of this year, Rodebaugh was sup- 
posed to meet Saskia, his most recent girlfiJend. She was 
30 years old, with delicate features and braided blonde hair 
that fell almost to her knees. They’d met at a bicycle accident to 
which they were both witnesses. “I ride eveiy day,” Saskia told me. 
“I feel weird walking.” One rainy day, they hiked to the Rockaways 
together. “It was very romantic,” Saskia recalled. She liked Rode- 
baugh, but she told him she’d recently left an intense relationship 
and didn’t want another. Then, she flipped over the handlebars of 
a bike— one Rodebaugh had lent her— and broke her arm in four 
places. Rodebaugh became her nurse. “He spent days sitting with 
me in the hospital. I was really pissed off and angry. He didn’t 
flinch. He’d come in mornings to help me shower and dress and 
braid my hair— and no one ever touches my hair.” 

That July night, Saskia texted him the address where she was 
having dinner with friends. He was to join her, which she hoped 
would cheer him up. Two days earlier, Rodebaugh had been fired 
from the Red Lantern. He didn’t show up for work sometimes. 
“You’re a great mechanic but a shitty employee,” Gluck told him. 
Rodebaugh didn’t disagree. That evening was his last shift with 
another mechanic who’d become a fiJend. They worked till 9 p.m., 
stayed for a few drinks. 

Rodebaugh headed out on his road bike near midnight. He 
went east on Myrtle and then turned south to DeKalb. He took 
the bike path, though in the wrong direction and at a high rate 
of speed, which is how he always rode. He bicycled toward his 
apartment, perhaps to clean up before meeting Saskia. Near 
Franklin Avenue, his friends say, a pedestrian walked out from 
between cars. Rodebaugh hit him and was thrown from the bike. 
He landed on his head. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. 

At Kings County Hospital, doctors wheeled Rodebaugh into sur- 
gery where they opened his skull, hoping to release the pressure on 
his brain caused by bleeding in his head. Saskia didn’t learn why 
Rodebaugh had stood her up until two days later. When she heard, 
she rushed to the hospital and didn’t leave. A week after the accident, 
Rodebaugh emerged from his medically induced coma. He couldn’t 
talk because of the tubes in his throat, but he could ’write. “I love this 
girl,” he ’wrote to a nurse. It was the first time he’d said that to Saskia. 
“I’m not going anywhere,” she said, “for as long as you want me.” She 
slept ’with her head on the rail, holding his hand. 

Three days after waking up, Rodebaugh became agitated. There 
was another bleed inside his head. Surgeons removed part of his 
cerebellum, hoping to reduce swelling. He fell into another coma, 
this one not induced. “Even if he survived, he wouldn’t have much 
motor control,” Saskia said later. “It would’ve been torture for him 
to be in a body like that.” She whispered to him that it was okay to 
die. On August 12, he was declared brain-dead. 


T hat afternoon, a representative of LiveOn NY, which 
matches organ donors ’with hopeful recipients, phoned 
Rodriguez to inform him of a potential face. He didn’t know 
if the donor would prove an acceptable match; genes and blood had 
to be tested. But he called Hardison— “I have (Continued on page 104) 

He's a musical 
genius — and he’s 
been accused of 
some awful things. 
Is it okay 
to listen to him? 

By David 

Photograph hy 


R. KELLY WHIRLS AROUND, Straining to look out his car’s rear 
window. “You see that?” asks the R&B star, sitting in the mid- 
dle row of a black SUV cruising down Manhattan’s West Side. 
On this sparkling afternoon in early fall, he’s just noticed a 
young woman driving a red sedan one lane over. “Damn,” says 
Kelly, as the smoke from his cigar curls along his giant gold 
watch and up past his diamond earring. “Uhm-hmm,” says a 
bearded assistant in a baseball cap from the backseat. This 
man’s job, as best I can tell, is to light his boss’s cigar and carry 
around a small duffel bag. The SUV pulls even with the wom- 
an’s car, and Kelly, on his way to a Chelsea recording studio, 
goes quiet, staring at the woman as she looks straight ahead. 

Our driver changes lanes. Kelly grimaces, as if seeing an attrac- 
tive woman in a passing car and not being able to do anything 
about it hurts. “New York got a lotta pretty girls,” he says. His assis- 
tant gives a sleepy nod. 

The SUV pulls in front of the studio. Were here to listen to 
tracks from next month’s The Buffet, the 13th album of Kelly’s mas- 
sively successful, extremely controversial career, and the first one 
since allegations of his past sexual misconduct resurfaced online, 
causing many to argue that Kelly is both a predator overdue for 
punishment and a walking moral dilemma. 

We step into an elevator. As it rises, Kelly, tall and wearing 
patterned jeans, sunglasses, and a baggy gray hoodie that 
mostly hides his slight middle-aged paunch, points his cigar at 
me. “You gonna be asking me all these things,” he says. “So let 
me ask you something first: What do you 
call a black man who flies an airplane?” 

I don’t know. 

“You call him a pilot,” says Kelly. “What’s 
wrong with you?” He laughs. “Gotta keep you 
off balance,” he says. “Gotta set the tone.” 

So let’s do that. Here are some key things 
to know about R. Kelly. His first name is 
Robert, he’s 48 years old, and he’s inarguably 
the biggest male R&B singer since Marvin 
Gaye. Probably the most talented and sexu- 
ally explicit, too. He grew up poor and func- 
tionally illiterate— owing to dyslexia— on 
Chicago’s South Side, raised mostly by his 
mother. In his memoir, Soulaeoaster: The 
Diary of Me, he wrote about being sexually 
abused as a child by a woman from the 
neighborhood. Around the same time, 
boarders in his family’s house repeatedly 
made him take photos of them having sex. When he was 8, he 
watched helplessly as his first love. Lulu, drowned after bullies 
pushed her into a creek. At 11, he was shot by thieves trying to 
steal his bike. The bullet is still in his shoulder. 

Kelly was musical from as far back as he can remember, and he 
began his career on the streets, singing for money in his clear, gor- 
geous tenor. In 1991, he joined a New Jack Swing group. Public 
Announcement, and went solo soon after. His debut, 12 Play (as 
opposed, the logic goes, to a less capable lover’s foreplay), was 
released in 1993. Since then, Kelly has sold somewhere in the 
neighborhood of 34 million albums. He’s been nominated for 25 
Grammy Awards and won three. In 2010, Billboard named Kelly 
the No. 1 R&B and hip-hop artist of the last quarter-century. In 
addition to his own batch of 33 sinuous, perfectly arranged top-20 
R&B hit singles, and another 17 that achieved the same designa- 
tion on the pop “Hot 100,” Kelly has collaborated on smashes with 
Celine Dion and Michael Jackson. Pitchfork deemed his irresist- 
ible “Ignition (Remix)” the 19th-best track of the aughts. He was 
largely responsible for introducing Aaliyah, Drake’s emotional 
lodestar, to the world. Even Jim DeRogatis, the former Chicago 
Sun-Times reporter and pop critic, who has done more than any- 
one else to spread the word on Kelly’s alleged unlawful sexual 
behavior, admits: “The man is a musical genius.” 

That’s the music. There’s also this: a long list of allegations 
that Kelly has used his money and power to have sex with 
minors. In 1994, when Kelly was 27 and Aaliyah was 15, the 
two were married under a falsified document that stated she 
was 18. The marriage was quickly annulled and Kelly, who pro- 
duced Aaliyah’s debut 2 i\bviva—cdi\{ed Age Ain’t Nothing But a 
iVz/m&cr— hasn’t said much about it since, out of, he says, 
respect for the late singer’s family. (Aaliyah had signed an 
agreement requiring her to stay silent about the brief mar- 

riage.) In 1996, Kelly was sued for damages by a woman alleg- 
ing the two began a sexual relationship when she was 15. Kelly 
settled out of court. In 2001, a similar lawsuit with a similar 
result. The next year, he was indicted on 21 counts of making 
child pornography after police came into possession of a video 
depicting a man resembling Kelly having sex with a young 
woman. Also in 2002, another lawsuit, this one from a woman 
claiming both that Kelly impregnated her while she was under- 
age and that one of his associates took her to get an abortion. 
Kelly settled. That same year, a woman sued Kelly for filming, 
without her knowledge, the two having sex. Kelly settled. It 
goes on: at least a half-dozen more lawsuits, followed by settle- 
ments, followed by nondisclosure agreements. (There are also 
reportedly a handful of instances in which Kelly has agreed to 
payments before lawsuits were even filed. 
Presumably these, too, involve NDAs.) 

Also in 2002, a video, delivered anony- 
mously to DeRogatis’s mailbox, showed 
a man who looks an awful lot like R. Kelly 
having sex with a girl alleged to have been 
about 14 or 15 years old at the time. In the 
video, which was widely bootlegged, the man 
is seen urinating in the girl’s mouth. It took 
prosecutors six years to bring the case to trial. 
The girl in question refused to testify, and 
Kelly’s lawyers argued that, as in the 2006 
com&dy Little Man, in which CGI was used to 
transpose Marlon Wayans’s head onto a child 
actor’s body, someone could have faked the 
tape by digitally replacing another man’s face 
with Kelly’s. He was acquitted on all charges. 

Despite all the allegations— and DeRoga- 
tis puts the total number of lawsuits in the 
dozens— Kelly has never gone to trial for, or even been charged 
with, statutory rape. Why not? Chicago attorney Susan E. Log- 
gans, who won settlements for multiple Kelly accusers, explains 
that for the state to prosecute a statutory-rape charge, there 
needs to be a complaining witness, and there hasn’t been one. 
“People don’t trust the legal system,” she says. “Everybody wants 
to see if they can get out of it. You can be on the right side of a 
case and lose, and that’s devastating. It’s easier to be provided 
with money and not go through the trauma or risk of a trial.” 

And yet. Kelly’s former manager Barry Hankerson once wrote a 
letter to Kelly’s lawyer in which he said their client needed to get help 
for his sexual compulsion toward underage girls. The husband of 
Kelly’s former publicist Regina Daniels told Los Angeles radio sta- 
tion KJLH that KeUy had “crossed a line” with the couple’s daughter. 
Kelly’s brother, Carey, told radio host Wendy Williams that he was 
asked to collect phone numbers of girls in the audience at R. Kelly 
shows even though “they looked underage.” Kelly’s former friend 
and personal assistant Demetrius Smith wrote a memoir. The Man 
Behind the Man, in which he wrote: “Underage girls had proven to 
be [Kelly’s] weakness. He was obsessed. Sickly addicted.” 

For a brief period after his acquittal, Kelly, musically anyway, 
appeared cowed. Love Letter (2010) and Write Me Baek (2012) 
were both chaste compared with most of his hits and musically 
humble, homages to classic soul. Divorce was presumably hum- 
bling, too. He and his wife, Andrea, who’d publicly supported her 
husband, divorced in 2009 after 13 years of marriage. The couple 
has a son, Robert; a daughter, Joann; and a third child. Jay, born 
Jaya, who announced last year on social media that he’s transition- 
ing from female to male. “He’s a, I dunno what the name of it is,” 
Kelly tells me. “You love your kids no matter what.” 

But in 2013, Kelly let loose. He duetted with Lady Gaga on her 
racy, unrepentant hit “Do What U Want,” and the two gave a truly 

Video for 

“Trapped in the Closet” 
( 2005 ). 

38 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 


bizarre performance at the American Music Awards in which he 
played the president and she played a secretary dry-humping in 
the Oval Office. Then he released his own volcanically dirty 
Panties album, featuring songs like “Crazy Sex” and “Marry the 
Pussy.” The record was like a dare to the world; After all that he’d 
been accused of, after avoiding conviction, could R. Kelly still get 
away with making sex-obsessed music? 

AT THE CHELSEA studio, Kelly is seated at a desk behind the 
recording console, a track list and keyboard in front of him. He 
takes small drags from his cigar. His assistant, a publicist, and a 
manager sit shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder on a nearby 
couch. Kelly, who speaks softly and rarely looks my way when he 
responds to my questions, asks an engineer to cue up a track 
from the excellent The Buffet— om of 462 
songs Kelly says he wrote for the album (13 
made the final cut). “I have enough songs to 
put out six or seven albums a year if I wanted,” 
he says while fiddling with the track list. 

Despite his superhuman output, quality con- 
trol is not a problem, he says, because “feed- 
back comes to me through the people who 
work for me.” He admits that on a couple 
occasions, he’s been told that songs were 
duds, but he can’t recall which ones because 
“I’m so buried in all of the great songs that 
I’ve been fortunate to have out there.” (Kelly 
is playfully exaggerative on a broad number 
of topics: An avid pickup-basketball player, 
he tells me that his jump shot is accurate “to 
about half-court, so that I don’t have to drive 
to the hole and worry that someone hits my 
pretty face.”) The Buffet, Kelly says, has a little 
something for all of his fans— hence the title— and he “really 
does believe my music will play until Jesus comes back.” 

The engineer clicks a mouse, and Kelly’s insistently seductive 
voice fills the room. “My lyrics got a big dick / And I just fucked 
the shit out of you all.” Kelly looks at me, tilts his head, and puts 
his hands out in Whaddaya think? fashion. 

H ost of kelly’s music falls into one of two 
categories: wholesome, inspirational 
songs about salvation and God, and filthy 
ones about freaky sex that often employ 
imaginatively silly metaphors— cooking 
(“In the Kitchen”), mountain climbing 
(“Echo”), space exploration (“Sex 
Planet”)— for the act of coitus. But the lat- 
ter outweighs the former by a wide margin; For every “Heaven, 
I Need a Hug,” a handful of “I Like the Crotch on You,” and a heap 
of “Peelin’ on Yo’ Booty” for every dash of “U Saved Me.” He 
doesn’t release the clean stuff under one name and the dirty stuff 
under another, the way some artists might. It’s all part of the same 
complicated persona, and each part of his catalogue informs the 
other: Listen to enough dirty songs, and a totally clean one like 
“It’s Your Birthday,” for example, might trick you into anticipating 
a punch line that never comes. (He brought a birthday gift for 
you, but it’s not his penis, surprisingly.) There’s also Kelly’s 
33-parts-and-counting rap opera Trapped in the Closet— 
narrative follows Kelly’s character, Sylvester, through a twisted 
series of events involving cuckolding, a surly dwarf, and a stutter- 
ing pimp— which exists in its own wondrous category. 

The music on The Buffet doesn’t much resemble the tenser, 
more emotionally conflicted songs of current R&B hit-makers like 
the Weeknd, Frank Ocean, or Miguel— all of whom have, let’s say. 

a more subdued vision of how two people might interact with the 
lights down low. Kelly isn’t ultrakeen on his younger competition. 
“R&B should be making love,” he says, stroking his freshly 
trimmed beard. “It should be sex with a little comical feeling; all 
that shit when you macking to a girl so you can get with her.” In 
other words, R&B is exactly what The Buffet sounds like. Kelly 
performs beside me as the songs play— cuing imaginary musi- 
cians, pumping his fist, mouthing the lyrics, raising his hands to 
the heavens. When we get to a sex song that uses a marching band 
as a metaphor, Kelly sings, “Blow me like a tuba!” and does it with 
such aplomb that I can’t help but laugh, and he smiles, and it’s 
awkward. Because this moment makes plain the conundrum of 
R. Kelly: How do you— how do I— listen to his songs, these inge- 
niously produced, meticulously arranged, incredibly sung songs, 
after you know what he’s been accused of? 

“I DON’T THINK ABOUT what people say 
R. Kelly did do or he didn’t do,” says Charisse, 
a 38-year-old EMT in a red leather jacket. 
We’re standing outside Barclays Center in 
Brooklyn in late September. R. Kelly is play- 
ing here tonight, and in a few minutes he’ll 
deliver a lewd and wildly entertaining show. 
“He don’t do anything lots of other men don’t 
do,” Charisse continues. “But because it’s R. 
Kelly, I’m supposed to be mad about it? 
There’s a lot of fast girls out there looking for 
a come-up.” She shrugs. “That’s reality.” 

Tia, 34 and pregnant, is here too. She works 
in wealth management, and her husband is 
home with their young daughter. “The media 
overhypes everything,” she says. “If he was 
found guilty in court, that’s a different thing. 
But there’s life and there’s music, and I can separate the two.” Her 
husband can’t. “He refuses to listen to R. Kelly,” she says. 

A 40-something man who’s been listening in and who won’t give 
his name comes up to me and says, “Innocent until proven guilty. 
This is America,” and walks away. 

Kenny is a 33-year-old real-estate agent whose girlfriend bought 
him R. Kelly tickets for his birthday. He was unaware of any allega- 
tions. “I’ve never heard any of that stuff,” he says. “So I guess it 
doesn’t bother me.” 

Of course, R. Kelly has heard that stuff, though at the studio he 
answers my questions only in roundabout ways. “I’m going to 
always have the gift along with the curse,” he says, after we’ve fin- 
ished listening to his album. “I feel like I got a million people hating 
me. I’ve got maybe 8 million loving me. So I’ve got 9 million talking 
about me, and in a strange, magical way, it keeps me in the game.” 

In 2014, Slate asked, “Why Does Alleged Sexual Predator R. Kelly 
Still Have a Career?” The year before, the Village Voiee ran a conver- 
sation with DeRogatis in which he recapped, in wrenching detail, 
the allegations against Kelly. Online, the piece linked to nearly ten 
years’ worth of disturbing Sun-Times stories and police reports. 

“Why haven’t we reached a Cosby-style tipping point with 
him?” asks DeRogatis from his office at Chicago’s Columbia 
College, where he teaches cultural criticism. “R. Kelly had the 
good sense never to go after a white girl from Winnetka. He 
didn’t go after Janice Dickinson. He was [allegedly] targeting 
inner-city black girls. The white world, with some exceptions, 
did not give a fuck. Certainly not in the way they did about 
Cosby, who was an actual crossover artist.” 

R. Kelly is, of course, not the first popular musician to alleg- 
edly be turned on by minors. Elvis began courting Priscilla Beau- 
lieu when she was 14. Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-year-old 
second cousin. Marvin Gaye impreg- (Continued on page 105) 

Kelly appearing in eourt in 2002 
after being charged with 21 counts of 
making child pornography. 

NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 I NEW YORK 39 

A story of epic change in BrookljTi, told in 
miniature. By those who’ve lived on 
MACDONOUGH STREET for generations and 
those who just pulled up to the stoop. 

FROM FARMLAND TO battleground foT browii- 
stone bidding wars, Brooklyn’s transformation 
has fundamentally altered the ei^^’s geography. 
It has also altered the lives of the residents who 
call the borough their home. To better under- 
stand those changes, we dispatched a team of 
reporters to find a place where Brooklyn’s past 
and future were next-door neighbors. There 
were many locations to choose from, because 
there are many Brooklyns, but we settled on 
the 400 block of MacDonough Street, between 
Patchen and Malcolm X, a brownstone block 
in Bed-Stuy near the Utica stop on the A/C 
that’s seen home prices nearly double in the 
past five years. Those prices have brought 
richer and whiter residents to a place where 
many black families have lived for generations. 
Some bought their homes in the 1970s and 
’80s, when crime was still rampant, for less 
than $30,000 (which, even adjusted for infla- 
tion, is less than a tenth of what their new 
neighbors paid). Others remember when the 
street was mostly German and Irish and they 
were the newcomers. We were interested in 
sweeping demographic changes (and real- 
estate figures). But we also wanted to explore 
what makes a neighborhood work— how resi- 
dents look out for (and sometimes alienate) 
each other, how their lives intertwine. From 
spring through fall, our reporters knocked on 
evxT-y dtxDr, crashed the block party, and hunted 
through public records to track down and 
intciTTCw more than 65 current and former 
residents. They mined Census data, deeds, and 
crime reports to piece together the history of 
this one-block-long micro-neighborhood. The 
result shows not just how the block changed by 
the numbers but also the psychic weight of 
those changes. In these pages is a condensed 
version of what they found; the online version 
is fully interactive, with a wealth of additional 
material, complete interviews, and the con- 
nections between neighbors, memories, 
and history made tangible, as digital links. 
A single street belongs to many, whether you’re 
brand-new or still prefer the slate side- \ 
walks, which were paved over in 1976. / 

40 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


Both 57, owners 
daughter Alexis. 

HISTORY: Debra’s father, a 
school principal who grew 
up in the neighborhood, 
bought the house at auc- 
tion in 1985 for $40,000. 
It had been abandoned and, 
in 1982, taken over by the 
city. Her parents still live a 
few blocks away on 
Stuyvesant Avenue, and 
own several houses in the 
area. Debra bought it from 
them in 1998. 


21, tenant 

OCCUPATION: Student at 
Hunter College. 

LIVES with: Her parents. 
HISTORY: “This is the 
house I grew up in. I like 
the area. I hate that it’s kind 
of far from all of my 
friends— I went to school in 
Soho. Maybe five years ago, 
my friends never wanted to 
come down here. They were 
like, ‘Oh, no, something bad 
is going to happen.’ I’m just, 
like, ‘It’s not like you’re 
going to die.’” 


41 and 39, owners 
cations consultant and singer. 
LIVE WITH: Their baby girl. 
HISTORY: Bought in April 
2015 for $1.55 million from 
the next-door neighbors, 
Rodney Hughes and Des- 
mond Prince (see right). It 
had been owned by the 
Hood family since 1968; in 
2006, Ricky Hood, who in- 
herited it, sold for $655,000 
to Hughes and Prince. 



50, eo-owner 



Desmond Prince, 
his partner. 

The Scott family 
lived here for four 
generations until 
1996, when the 
estate of Gloria Jean 
Scott sold it for 
$50,000 to a 
real-estate holding 

j company, which 
I then flipped it to 
I Prince. Hughes and 
j Prince also bought 
1 the house next door; 
i they recently sold it 
' to Hoeppner and 
i Kole(seeleft).“I 
j had told Desmond 
I I could wait” to sell, 

: Rodney recalls. But 
I “we met Hilary, and 
: it was a perfect fit. 

I She was having the 
I baby and she’s a j azz 
1 singer, and art and 
j artists appeal to us. 

It’s important to 
i have neighbors that 
j you like. ’Cause 
! we’re not going 
j anywhere.” 









1 BOUGHT IN 1983 

1 BOUGHT IN 1988 1 


1 BOUGHT IN 1976 

1 r 

1 $12,000 

J $110,000 

$1.56 MILLION 




90, owner 

kosher butcher. 

HISTORY: Bought the 
house with his late wife in 
1983 for $12,000. Bowden, 
whose parents were fruit- 
and-vegetable farmers in 
North Carolina, came to 
New York in 1955 after a 
stint in the Army and 
apprenticed in a butcher 
shop, where he was, at first, 
paid mostly in meat. “When 
I bought this house, there 
wasn’t two cars on this 
street! That streetlight 
wasn’t even there.” Was 
once robbed at the point 
of a .38 on this block. 


42, tenant 

Public defender. 

LIVES WITH: Her son. 
HISTORY: Moved from a 
Brooklyn Heights co-op in 
2006; now pays $1,050 for a 
two-bedroom. “On Montague 
Street, I was constantly being 
asked whether I was a nanny. 
Was I surprised? Not aU that 
much. I’d been to boarding 
school, where there were few 
people of color. So I was 
accustomed to that ‘What 
are you doing here?’-type 



26, owner 

production freelancer. 
HISTORY: Parents are from 
Barbados; grew up first in 
Jamaica, Queens, then on 
Halsey Street. Bought this 
house in 2012; previous 
owner had moved back to 
be closer to family in the 
South. Brathwaite’s aunt is 
Chesl)m Lorde, who owns 
the house 12 doors down 
(see following pages). “I had 
her come over and look at 
the house. We all liked it. I 
don’t foresee selling— 

I haven’t had any offers, 
other than those papers 
that keep getting dropped 
on everybody’s steps.” 



54, owner 
bought the house 
in 1945; Pollard 
lived here till age 
18, then left and 
went into the Air 
Force. “To me, at 
that time. New 
York felt more like 
a giant small town. 
You had a million 
little small towns 
inside New York. 
Jervey Ector was 

my best friend, and 
Mrs. Ector [see 
opposite page] still 
lives in the house. 
There were much 
more kids on the 
block back then 
than there are 
today. We’d ride 
our bikes up and 
down, around the 
neighborhood, play 
touch football in 
the street, a little 
bit of stickball. In 
a lot of respects, 
the block is pretty 
much the same— it 
was a quiet block 
then, it’s quiet 
now. But I know 
people around here 
much less.” 

42 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


51, former owner 
OCCUPATION: Paralegal; 
now unemployed. 

NOW LIVES: Around the 
eorner on Deeatur Avenue. 
H I STORY: Grew up in what 
is now the Lambs’ house 
and has spent his whole 
life in the neighborhood. 
Moved around the eorner 
with his mother, Connie 
Walker (see next pages), 
when the family sold their 
house in 2007. A regular on 
Brother Spears’s stoop. 


50, eo-owner 

O C C U PAT I O N : Carpenter. 
LIVES WITH: His father 
and a tenant, Daniel “June” 

HISTORY: His parents 
bought the house in 1978. 

Has lived here for his entire 
life: “I’m maintaining, 
taking eare of my father— 
he’s 90 years old. I think I’ll 
be here for good. And I’ll 
pass it on to my kids.” 


49, tenant 

Brother Spears. 

HISTORY: Arrived on the 
bloek from Antigua with his 
parents in 1972. Isn’t sure 
about the changing 
neighborhood: “Sandwiches 
went from $2 to $4.50— not 
even that, this shit is going 
up to $7. Who the fuck can 
afford that?” 

and Do the Right 
Thing and Sesame 
Street sort oi 
represented New 
York to me, but I 


39 and 38, owners 
Reporter and 
forensic linguist. 
Ver mill ion bought 
the house in 2009 
for $649,000. It had 
been owned by the 
Coppedge family 
since 1964. She says, 
“I grew up in 
Northern California, 

didn’t realize that 
was Bed-Stuy. And 
then when I got 
here, I was like. Oh, 
this is New York. 
This is what I was 
looking for. I first 
visited on a Simday. 
There were all these 
nice old ladies 
dressed up going to 
church. People 
would have bars in 
their basements- 
50-year-old women 
would have bars, 
would sell food.” 


51, owner 
HISTORY: Bought 
the house in 2000 
with her husband 
for $236,000; he 
died in 2005. “I 
had to go through 
grieving counsel- 
ing, and she said 
you have to make it 
your space. I didn’t 
know if I could stay 
here. The people 
on the block were 
really, really 
friendly. They saw 

me when I was in 
that depressed 
mode. They would 
comfort me. It was 
like a little family.” 
She became 
president of the 
block association 
the next year. “We 
didn’t have tree 
guards. I got them. 
We didn’t have 
lampposts in the 
yards. There were 
city programs we 
could sign up for, 
so I went around 
and said, ‘Hey, 
would you like 
a lamppost?’ So 
we got that.” 






$1.35 MILLION 






45 and 50, owners 


IT program 
manager, property 

daughter, Macken- 
zie, 4. A two-bed- 
room in the house 
is listed on Airbnb, 
and according to 
Ronn, the booking 
is “just constant.” 
HISTORY: Sharon 
bought the house in 
2002 for $276,000 

from its longtime 
owner, Rita Holder 
Wilson, who had 
bought it with her 
husband in 1988 for 
$55,000. “I’d been 
coming back and 
forth to Bed-Stuy 
for the last 20 to 25 
years,” Ronn says. 

“I never thought 
that Brookl)m, and 
specifically Bed- 
Stuy, would become 
what it has. I never 
would’ve thought 
someone would 
pay $1 million for 
a brownstone 
where you don’t 
even have parking! 

I don’t get it— but 
I kind of get it.” 


31, tenant 



LIVES WITH: Daughter 
Chloe and sister Laurie. 
HISTORY: Born in Nigeria, 
grew up in Brooklyn, and 
moved here in 2014 to be 
near Chloe’s school. Pays 
$1,500 for a two-bedroom. 
“When my landlord bought 
the house in 2012, he paid 
$600-something. After a 
house sold for $1.2 million, 
he’s like, 1 want $1.5.’ Your 
piece-of-shit house? You’re 
not going to make that.” 


81, owner 


Jervey stays here part time. 
HISTORY: Has lived in 
Bedford-Stuyvesant brown- 
stones since she was 9 
months old, when her 
parents moved up from 
South Carolina. Her 
husband’s parents, owners 
of a soul-food restaurant 
nearby called Ector’s, 
bought this house in 1951, 
and she moved here after 
she married in 1955. Her 
husband, who worked at 
Ector’s and then for the 
Department of Correction, 
died in January 2015. 


60, owner 

Housing Authority 

H I STORY: Her father, from 
St. Vincent, bought the house 
in 1957 . She arrived with her 
mother two years later. “It’s 
fimny— if you’re on the C, 
Clinton-Washington was for 
many years the cutoff. You 
didn’t expect white people to 
come any further. Then it 
was Franklin: Well, now, 
that’s odd. Nostrand? 
Kingston? Hfr'ca.? Now it’s 
Ralph Avenue. Really FT 



39 , owner 


Fashion stylist. 

roommate, plus a 
tenant who pays 
$ 1,900 a month. 
from Halsey Street 
in 2011, buying the 
house for $610,000, 
$80,000 under 
asking. The seller, 
Thelma Akins, who 
had just died, had 
lived there since the 

1950s. “It’s a classic 
trajectory. East 
Village to further in 
the East Village to 
Williamsburg to 
lower in Williams- 
burg. Then at some 
point I was like. 

Oh, I can afford to 
live on the Lower 
East Side, then 
I got priced out of 
the LES, then I was 
like. Oh, I actually 
hate Manhattan. 
I’ve been called 
a gentrifier by, like, 
someone on a 
stoop— ‘Get out 
of here, gentrifier.’ 
Should I not 
live where I can 
afford to?” 

Illustrations hy Murphy Lippincott 

NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 43 


65, owner 

LIVES WITH: Her daughter 
Efani and grandson 

HISTORY: Bought the 
house in 1992 for $170,000 
from Nell Cochrane Taylor 
and Gloria Cochrane 
Onque. The Cochrane sis- 
ters had grown up here; 
their parents bought the 
house in 1932 for $8,500. 


52, current occupant 
OCCUPATION: Caretaker. 
HISTORY: Grew up in the 
home now owned hy the 
Norpoths (see opposite 
page). Has been staying in 
this soon-to-be-renovated 
house temporarily. “They 
planted these trees in ’76— 
they were here when I came 
back from the military. I re- 
member a guy named Bud- 
dy— he used to get drunk on 
Wild Irish Rose and karate- 
fight with the trees.” 


67, owner 


LIVES WITH: Her son 


HISTORY: Three genera- 
tions of Bookers have lived 
here since her parents 
bought the house in 1959. 
Taught second, third, and 
fourth grades at RS. 25; 
students included Brother 
Spears (see previous page). 
Sold to her son in 2009. 


62, owner 

OCCUPATION: Landlord; 
driver; former missionary. 
HISTORY: Inherited the 
house in 1999 from his 
mother, who inherited it in 
1962 from her uncle, who 
bought the house in 1945. 
Has had multiple surgeries 
without health insurance, 
and plans to list the proper- 
ty for sale when its value 
rises high enough to clear 
his debts. 


21, tenant 

LIVES WITH: His parents 
and younger sister. 
HISTORY: Grew up down 
the block until age 11, when 
his family moved to Crown 
Heights. They returned as 
tenants in December 2014. 
“A lot of people who come to 
New York don’t know that 
experience— pla5dng with 
the neighbors, having a fam- 
ily outside of your family. 
That’s how it was for me, 
and I’m really grateful for it.” 


50, co-owner 

OCCUPATION: Babysitter. 
LIVES WITH: Her brother. 
HISTORY: After growing 
up in the house with her 
mother, stepfather, and 11 
siblings, she and her 
brother bought the building 
from a realty company in 
2002 for $316,000. Before 
that, the house had been 
sold about once a decade 
since 1976. 


1 BOUGHT IN 2000 1 

1 BOUGHT IN 1995 1 

I BOUGHT IN 2014 1 

1 BOUGHT IN 1980 1 


1 BOUGHT IN 2013 

1 BOUGHT IN 2000 1 

$1.4 MILLION : 

M 1 $200,000 1 

1 $140,000 

$900,000 1 

$33,000 I 

1 INHERITED 1996 1 


1 $400,000 

1 $143,000 1 



HISTORY: Bought their 
house in February 2015 
from Christine Toes 
Muldoon for $1.4 million. 
Muldoon, a real-estate 
broker, had bought it from 
Connie Walker’s daughter 
in 2007 for $750,000, 
and rented it out to tenants 
for three years before 
moving in herself 


79, former owner 

funeral director. 

NOW LIVES IN: An apart- 
ment nearby on Decatur Av- 
enue, with her son Gregory. 
HISTORY: The daughter of 
a sharecropper. Walker 
came from South Carolina 
at 19. Lived on Mac- 
Donough for more than 50 
years: “When I first moved 
there, it was all whites, and 
they sold it to the blacks. 
And now the blacks are 
selling it to the whites.” 


56, owner 


Department of Finance 
assistant manager. 

LIVES WITH: Her son. 
HISTORY: Bom in Barba- 
dos; moved to Halsey Street 
with her parents at 17, in 
1978. Bought here in 2000 
for $200,000. “I felt 
[racism] when I got here. In 
both directions, and even 
against West Indians, from 
black people who were bom 
here: We came to take their 
jobs, hkih, blah, blah.” 


35, tenant 

HISTORY: Tenant since 
2001, paying “less than 
$1,000” to Cheslyn Lorde 
for a one-bedroom. “I found 
this listing for an upstairs 
apartment online in the 
Village Voice. I was the only 
white girl on this block for 
years. By 2011, the tide had 
really shifted— I didn’t 
stand out anymore at all.” 



LIVES WITH: Her sister 

HISTORY: Bought the 
building with her sister in 
1995, moving from the 
Marcy Houses. “This was a 
good catch, here. Compared 
to Williamsburg, it was qui- 
et. There was a lot going on 
in Marcy— gunshots, 
gangs— and I had a son that 
I had to think of. He was 
about 10. When we moved 
on the block, we discovered 
that my sister knew most of 
the people from her job at 
the bank on Grand Street. 
Fverybody said: T know 
you, Cynthia!’ 1 know you! ’ 
And they came over to wel- 
come us.” 


46, owner 

OCCUPATION: Babysitter. 
LIVES WITH: Her son, 28, 
who has the top floor. 
HISTORY: Her grand- 
parents— former farmers 
from South Carolina- 
bought the house in 1970 
from a white family that had 
owned it for three genera- 
tions. The Hinnants have 
lived here ever since; 
Leatrice’s mother, Geral- 
dine, retired to Florida in 
2010, and Leatrice bought 
her out last year. 

44 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


33 and 35, owners 



HISTORY: Bought the 
house with parental assis- 
tance in 2011 for $750,000, 
after being priced out of 
Washington Heights. “It 
was a Corcoran listing,” says 
John-Paul, “which, at that 
time, struck me as atypical 
for this neighborhood. Now 
it’s common.” Before that, 
the house had been sold in 
2005 for $875,000, in 2001 
for $306,000, in 1999 for 
$244,000, in 1997 for 
$205,000, in 1980 for 
$7,500 (a foreclosure 
sale), and in 1973 for 


55, owner 


LIVES WITH: A tenant, Vio- 
let Russell, and ten cats. 
HISTORY: Bought in 2006 
from the Campbell family 
for $755,000. The sellers, 
longtime residents, moved 
to Kentucky to be closer to 
one of their sons. “I wasn’t 
just coming in and displac- 
ing somebody. It was clear 
I wanted to contribute to 
the block, and that went a 
long way with my neighbors.” 


53 and 57, owners 
OCCUPATION: Financial 
analyst and hairstylist. 

LIVE WITH: Their teenage 
sons Miles and Justin. 
HISTORY: Bought in 2000 
for $210,000. Michael 
came to Brooklyn in 1972, 
from Barbados; Donna, 
bom in Jamaica, moved to 
the U.S. in 1980 and to 
Park Slope in 1990. Now 
says she’s here for life: 

“I would never sell. 
Never, never.” 


47, owner 

OCCUPATION: Marketing 
at Citibank. 

LIVES WITH: Atenant, 
Natalie Johnson. 

HISTORY: Bought in 2002 
for $350,000, well below 
asking. “She took a price cut 
in order to let [me] have the 
home— I think [she] figured 
that a young black woman 
needed an opportunity. 
Sometimes I tear up thinking 
about the sacrifice. It’s a big 
fucking deal.” The house had 
last sold in 1990 for $36,000. 



76, tenant 

court officer and grocery- 
store manager. 

LIVES WITH: Aroommate. 
HISTORY: Moved in ten 
years ago, paying $950 for a 
two-bedroom garden apart- 
ment. Current rent, split 
with roommate, is $1,300. 
Parents from Puerto Rico; 
grew up poor in Williams- 
burg, moved to Levittown, 
returned to Brooklyn after 
a divorce. 


43 and 46, owners 
of ROIR (a music label) 
and sculptor. 

LIVE WITH: Their twins, 
born this year. 

HISTORY: Bought the 
house in 2013 for $903,750. 
“We saw only one floor,” says 
Jane, “and we said. We’ll 
take it.’ The prices now, 
there is no way we could 
do it. We hope to be here a 
long time.” 


68, owner 

LIVES WITH: His wife. 
HISTORY: Bought in 1980 
for $33,000. Previous 
owner had purchased the 
house out of foreclosure 
a few years earlier, from the 
estate of a woman who’d 
left it to her drug-addict 
nephew. Is seriously 
considering a move to 
Long Island, where he has 
a house in Hempstead. 


69, owner 

HISTORY: Moved to 
Brookl)m from the West 
Indies at 13; bought her 
house in 1985 for $148,500, 
after deciding Harlem was 
too expensive. Now, she 
says, “I used to say, ‘It’s 
happening,’ but it has 
happened. The pioneers 
are no longer needed. When 
you start seeing the flags 
hanging out people’s 
windows, you know who’s 
here. We don’t hang 
flags— white people hang 
way more flags. I have no 
idea why. Maybe it’s their 
way of showing patriotism. 
‘Okay, we’re here. Don’t 
fuck with us.’” 


55, tenant 

OCCUPATION: Construc- 
tion worker and cook. 
HISTORY: House was last 
sold in 2000 for 
$143,000. Murray started 
renting here in 1990; has 
lived in various Brookl5m 
neighborhoods since age 5, 
when his family moved up 
from Mississippi. Of his 
eight siblings, five are dead: 
asthma, AIDS, meningitis 
(“from runnin’ around out 
here in the streets”), cancer. 


74, owner 

CUNY psychology counselor. 
LIVES WITH: Her nephew, 
who has the top floor. 
HISTORY: Bought her 
house in 1968, for $29,000, 
with her mother, a school- 
lunch manager and Bed- 
Stuy native. It had 
previously been owned by 
an African-American doctor. 
“He could have gotten 
$35,000—1 guess my 
mother said what she 
could pay.” 



HISTORY: Her grandpar- 
ents bought the house in 
1936. Christina grew up 
a few blocks from here, on 
Jefferson and then Putnam 
Avenue. She and her 
mother moved into the 
house around 1997, to 
care for her grandmother, 
and stayed; Christina’s 
mother died three years 
ago. “My grandfather had 
lived in Harlem, and his 
family was Caribbean. I’ll 
probably be here forever. 

I don’t think I could ever 
sell it. I’d feel like I was 
giving up on his dream.” 


44, owner 

OCCUPATION: Freelance 
video editor and writer. 
LIVES WITH: Has atenant 
in the upstairs two- 
bedroom. HISTORY: 

Bought the house in 2002 
for $279,000, moving from 
Fort Greene. The previous 
owner, Irving Smith, now 
80, inherited it from his par- 
ents in 1988, and rented it to 
tenants while living nearby. 
The Smiths had bought it 
in 1958; Irving recalls the 
down payment as $15,000. 

NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 45 

1880s to 1940s 

First MacDonou^ Street 
was a field. Then the German 
and Irish arrived. 

The 400 block of MacDonough circa 1910. 

In the 1880s. MacDonougfh 
between Patchen and Reid 
was stiU undeveloped, most of 
it owned by James Lefferts. 

► Heir to a lot of Brooklyn farmland and the 
grandson of a slave owner, Lefferts sold the 
block for development. By 1 899, it was filled up 
with the tidy brownstones that still stand, many 
designed by Henry Hill, who, with his father, Amzi, 
was one of the foremost architects of what real- 
estate brokers now call Stuyvesant Heights. (If 
you see a house with a pair of arched parlor-floor 
windows separated by a column, it’s probably 
his.) The Hills also lived here, at 460 MacDonough. 

The intersection of MacDonough and Patchen. 

A farm-line atlas of the city of Brooklyn from 1880 shows 
the would-be 400 block subdivided for houses 
in preparation for development. To the east, empty plots. 

Street's first 
were mostly 

► But not poor 
immigrants: These 
were middle-class 
houses, populated 
by families of 
merchants, teachers, 
brokers, clothiers. 

The Bremers were 
at 435, the Mullers 
at 448. Many homes 
had a servant in 
residence, often a 
young or widowed 
woman. The Irish were 
the second-largest 
demographic: Ross 
Dudgeon and his 
wife at 472; an artist 
named John 
Whittaker— who went 
on to train artists 
and illustrators at 
Brooklyn’s Adelphi 
Academy— at 496. 

By 1930, Irish 
names dominated 
the Census rolls. 

The first black 
fiunfiies moved to 
the block hi the 

► The area was somewhat less segregated 
than it would become in later decades. 
Though many black residents were denied 
traditional mortgages, informal community 
banks helped some buy homes. 

“There was some racial 
tension between neighbors, 
but I remember it only 
with one white family. 

An Irish family owned the 
house next door and forbade 
their daughters from 
speaking to us. However, 
my best friend on the block, 
Charles Dougherty, was 
an Irish-American kid. 

To tell you the truth, 
growing up, I encountered 
more cultural difficulties 
from my black American playmates 
than from my white playmates. There was 
a great deal of hostility between black 
Americans from the South and black people 
from the West Indies. I think the black 
Americans saw us as competing for their 
turf All of the black kids on that block went 
to college. We all knew, even those who 
came from the American South, that 
we had to work hard— not just to make 
a living but to make a place for ourselves 
in American society. We were very 
much a group of strivers 

► Ulric Haynes 
Jr., 84, rented 
with his parents 
a one-bedroom 
apartment from 
1935 to 1948 
for $35 a month 
($594 today). 

• Haynes went on to heeome 
US. ambassador to Algeria. 

Other block notables: 


The painter Jacob Lawrence lived a block 
away. (He taught Haynes arts and crafts at 
summer camp before he was famous.) Jackie 
Robinson lived one block down at 526 . 

And M. A. Paige (below), New York City' s first 
black magistrate judge, lived at 474. 

46 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 


By the end of the 1940s, the block was almost entirely black, 
in part due to racist bank-lending practices. 

Rv IQ'^n 
of black 

Brooklynites had 
been bom 
in the South. 

^ The vast movement of 
African-Americans from the 
South to the North, often 
called the Great Migration, 
began around the onset of 
World War I, when poor cotton 
crops and industrial jobs 
supporting the war effort 
drove sharecroppers to seek 
work elsewhere. The North 
also offered more freedom 
from Jim Crow laws. A second 
wave came after the Great 
Depression. New York City, 

1 .8 percent black in 1 900, 
was 1 4 percent black in 1 960. 

“I moved to 
New York City 
on my own. 

I wanted to get 
out of South 
Carolina, out of 
that hot cotton 
field. My father 
was a share- 
cropper. I was 
born in the 
country, and 
we were 
surrounded by 
white people. There were 
good white people, and 
there were had white people. 
My momma used to cook for 
these white people. So that’s 
all we knew: working for 
white people. I get along with 
them; I like white people. My 
skin is different from yours, 
yours is different from mine, 
but we’re all God’s children.” 

► Connie 
Walker, 79, 
who lived on 
the block for 
more than 50 
years, moved 
up from 

The block lost 
more than half its 
white population in 
a single decade. 

By "redlining" Bed-Stuy 
the federal government coaxed 
banks into depriving the 
neighborhood of investment. 

Percent White People 

























Estimates hosed on available 
Census Bureau data. 

► In 1933, a New Deal 
corporation called the Home 
Owners’ Loan Corporation, or 
HOLC, began an effort to rate 
urban neighborhoods based 
on their safety as investments. 
As the historian Craig Steven 
Wilder explains in A Covenant 
With Color, the idea was 
to get banks lending again by 
pointing them toward solid 
neighborhoods and suburbs. 
Because Bedford-Stuyvesant 
had aging and unfashionable 
Victorian brownstones, 
a scattering of black (and thus 
undesirable) residents, 
and patchy mass transit, it 
received the lowest rank (D). 
The effect was catastrophic: 

If you couldn’t sell your house 
because no buyer could get 
a mortgage, and you couldn’t 
get a loan to renovate, 
its value inevitably declined. 
Residents began to cut and 
run, selling to investors; those 

Jtn+T mi 

H The red area, which included all of 
■ Bed-Stuy, was given a “D” investment 
I grade by HOLC. 

‘ investors rented to poorer — 
■ African-Americans, who were 
shut out of white areas. Black 
' would-be borrowers looked 
. to other sources, such as the 
. Paragon Progressive Federal 
Credit Union, founded in 1941 
; by West Indian immigrants; 

others negotiated loans from 
' the sellers or churches. 

► Nell Cochrane 
Taylor, 85, was an 
infant when her 
parents bought their 
home in 1932 for 
$8,500. She and her 
sister sold it in 
1992 for $170,000. 

“By the time I went to college in 
1947, the block had begun to 
change a lot. The side streets 
were not too good to walk along, 
and you had to in order to get to 
the subway. I think maybe a 
different class of people had 
moved in. Many of the homes 
were rented out. Bedford- 
Stuyvesant was getting a bad 
reputation. There were a lot of 
liquor stores, and it was not a 
savory scene.” 

• Taylor went to Smith College, 

Nell with her son Timothy Jr. 
in her parents’ front yard, 1961. 

where she heeame the sehool’s 
first hlaek president of the 
student body. 

NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 I NEW YORK 47 

1940s to 1990s 

The block became a refuge from crime and a home. 

A close-knit 
as neighbors 
together to 
keep the 
block safe. 


The children today 
do not have the fun 
that we had. 


We used to play 
stickball, skully, 
or football. We’d play 
against other 
blocks, for pride. 

My mom used to 
say, “You have to come 
home when the 
streetlight comes on.” 

I would be out from 
eight in the morning to 
seven at night, and by 
the time I got home, my 
shirt would be filthy. 
There was an older 
couple, the Campbells. 
They joined the youth 
together. Ms. Campbell 
would say, “It’s spring, 
let’s clean around 
the trees and pull up 
the weeds.” And we’d 

A block party from the 1970s. “We had a lot going on back then,” says Hinnant. “The block parties were awesome.” 

do that with her, and 
she would feed us. We 
got unified that way. 
MILES: Every parent 
from that corner to 
that corner knew 
each other. So if I did 
something on that 
corner. I’d get dragged 
all the way up to here. 
And they would pop 

me a few times. And 
then you get home, 
and they tell your 
momma. That’s how 
we were raised, 
because if something 
bad happens to your 
kid, and I’m out there, 
you’re going to wonder 
why I didn’t help 
your child. 

^ How to Play Skully 


dS ► Stephanie Chavous’s 
jiP family rented for decades 
before buying their home. 

K ^ ► Leatrice Hinnant’s 

bought her house in 
1970 for $20,000. 

“Ms. White was the oldest person on the 
block. You had to respect her. She always 
came out like it was the early 1900s, with 
her long gowns. I don’t care if she was just 
going to the comer store, she was dressed. 
They used to honor the seniors on the 
block. They don’t do that anymore. People 
don’t understand: That’s history. It was 
always, if you see them stmggling outside 
with a bag, you help them, no matter 
what. It’s hard to say why that went away.” 

“Malcolm X Boulevard used to be 
Reid Avenue. It was a scary place. 

It was very depressing in Bedford- 
Stuyvesant, dmg infested. That’s 
why the block itself was so family 
oriented, because we weren’t 
allowed to go off the block unless 
we were with an adult. We 
couldn’t even sit in the yard once 
those streetlights came on unless 
someone was with us.” 

Materials: sidewalk, 
chalk, bottle caps 

1. Draw a board, ‘ 

about six feet ’ 

square . • 

2 . Player 1 attempts 
to flick his cap ' 

into box 1 without ’ 

touching the ■ 

lines. If • 

successful, the ‘ 

player advances J 

to the next box . « 

If not, the turn ■ 

goes to player 2 . ' 

3. Blasting: You can * 

sabotage other 
players by • 

hitting another [ 

player ' s cap so ' 

hard that it's * 

knocked way down 

*Rules may vary block to block. 

the block. 

4. Players advance 
from box 1 to 
box 13 and back, 
then through the 
four trapezoids 
in succession, 
declaring in 
turn, on each 
one : ''I'm, ” "a, " 
"killer, " and 
"diller . " Get 
through that 
sentence, and 
you're a killer; 
you then can 
knock other 
players out of 
the game by 
hitting their 
pieces . 

5 . Last player on 
the board wins . 

48 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


Whfle aJl around them, Bed-Stuy 
crumbled and crbne sk^cketed. 

New families 
continued to put 
down roots. 

The late 1970s 
and early 1980s 
saw a spike in 
ai)andoned and 
foreclosed homes, 

►If a homeowner fell behind 
on his or her property taxes, 
the city could foreclose on the 
house. During the Koch 
administration, those 
properties were often passed 
on to developers, who were 
given generous loans to 
redevelop them. 

Foreclosed Homes 




Taken over by 
the city 




Taken over by 
the city 




Foreciosure saie; 
sold for $7,500 




Taken over 
by HUD 








Taken over by 
the city 




Taken over by 
the city 




Taken over 
by HUD 

► Annette Cox bought her home in 
1985 for $148,500. She remembers 
when she decided to bar her 

“I came during a period 
when there was a lot of 
drugs, a lot of crack. You’d 
see the vials on the ground. 
People were breaking in. One 
night, one guy was chasing 
another— chasing him with a 
hatchet or whatever. They 
came from the bar on the 
corner. He jumped up to the 
large window in the front of 
the house, in order to get 
away. I had a Doberman at 
the time. The dog was just 
standing there, looking at 
him. Thank God.” 

Mulders in the 81st 
Precinct, which includes 
MacDonough Street: 


(as of 
November 1) 

1968 1974 1990 1991 1995 2000 2014 2015 

*Source: Figures after 1995 are from the New York Poliee 
Department; pre -1995 based on news reports. 

“My father bought this • 
house off of the city 
auction. This was an 
abandoned house. It had 
been cinder-blocked 
shut. I remember 
breaking through in 
order to come in with 
a flashlight, and saying, 
‘Oh my God’ But I 
saw that it had good bones and character, 
and so we brought it back to life.” 

► Andy 
Osborne, 68, 
bought his 
house in 1980 
for $33,000. 

► Debra Lamb’s 
father bought 
her house for 
$40,000 in 1985. 

“The man I bought the 
house from had bought it 
out of foreclosure. Before 
I even moved in, a drug 
addict broke in one night. 
There was an older couple 
from South Carolina living 
next door. Sam Hinnant 
and his wife— Ms. Minnie. 
Sam came over here with 

a shotgun and chased 

him out. There were a lot of unoccupied 
houses in the neighborhood at the time. 
Over on the corner, at the Casablanca, there 
was a time when almost every Sunday 
morning there’d be a chalk outline on the 
sidewalk. When you’d hear a racket— people 
making a disturbance, playing loud music, 
or carrying on— Ms. Minnie would say, ‘Andy, 
those are avenue people’— people who 
lived in the apartment buildings— ‘not block 
people. We are block people.’ But having 
grown up in Harlem, I’d pretty much seen it 
all. [As a child], we were supposed to live 
in Stuy Town. But once the city learned that 
the family was black, we were barred.” 

• Osborne listed his house this summer 
for $1.35 million. 

Debra Lamb’s home in 1986, left, and again after renovation. 

NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 I NEW YORK 49 

1990s to 2015 

As the city got 
more emnsive, 
the blocK became 
a better bai^ahi. 

The first wave of new 
homeowners were mostly black 
professionals, often attracted 
to the affordable prices. 

By 2000, it had begun 
to attract more far-flung 
home buyers. 

Where New Yorkers who moved 
to MacDonough came from: 

► Sharon Koontz 
bought in 2002 
for $276,000. 

“I met someone who 
^ introduced me to Ms. Rita. 
V Ms. Rita wanted to sell her 

' house to someone who 

M wasn’t going to turn around 

and resell it. She lived on 
the top floor and rented out 
the bottom two floors. It 
was a rooming house; she’d 
take one room and subdivide it into three. 
She required me to come visit her a couple 
of times, which I did. She would tell me 
that people would knock on her door with 
suitcases of money. And she would tell 
me, 1 really don’t care how much money 
they have. I want the house to go to 
someone who I like.’ Her only wish was that 
I help her move back to Barbados, which 
I did. When I first moved on the block, 
a couple of the older ladies would say, 
‘I’m going to teach you how to make 
a sweet-potato pie!’ They sure did teach 
me. And I do make it now, even though 
they’re not watching anymore.” 

Connie Walker’s 
Sweet- Potato- Pie Recipe 

''Peel the sweet potatoes, 
boil them. Then add 
butter and sugar , white 
or brown. Sometimes I mix 
both sugars . Beat the 
eggs and add them. I use 
two eggs per pie . Then you 
put in the flavor [ lemon 
and vanilla extracts , 
cinnamon, and nutmeg] and 
milk. If you don' t have 
a mixer, mix it with a big 
spoon. I usually just 
buy the crust . I brown my 
crust a bit, take it 
out of the oven, put in 
the filling, and then 
put it back in at 350 . " 

^ Jane Benson, 43, 
and Lucas Cooper, 
46, moved from 
Bushwick in 2013 
and bought for 

“A lot of the real-estate agents thought 
we were investors. But no, we wanted 
a place for us. The real-estate agent 
said, ‘Oh, you actually want to live here? 
I know a brilliant place.’ ” 

i- Christine 
Toes Muldoon, 
38, bought her 
home in 2007 
for $750,000. 
She sold it 
this year for 
$1.4 million. 

“In 2007, 1 was in a one- 
bedroom co-op in the 
West Village. I wanted to 
invest in something 
with good rental income. 
Basically, my money 
would have purchased 
a one-hedroom condo 
in Manhattan or a two- 
family, three-story 
townhouse in Bed-Stuy. 
Then I ended up going to 
one of the Brownstoners of 

Bed-Stuy house tours, which make it very 
easy to fall in love with those old houses.” 

► Rodney’s partner, 
Desmond, bought a 
house on the block 
in 1996. They bought 
a second in 2006 for 
$655,000. Then there 
was the hardware store. 

“I was trying to figure out ways to 
work smarter, so we jumped into the 
real-estate thing. At that time, 
people were trying to get rid of stuff. 
Desmond bought a building over on 
Lincoln Place. Then we bought 
another in Crown Heights and got 
into the rental game. In 2007, the 
owner of Val’s Hardware Store said, 
‘I’m selling. Would you like to buy 
it?’ We decided if we’re going to do a 
hardware store, it has to be a sexy 
hardware store. We tried to bring in 
the best home and body products 
mixed with other stuff that people 
needed in this community. We 
expanded to a larger store and called 
it Oz Hardware and Home. At that 
point, we thought. We re going to he 
working here every day, so we need 
to have aplaee that serves the kind of 

Rodney and Desmond’s “sexy hardware store,” 
which has since closed. 

food that we want to eat 
We opened Liquid Oz. We had 
people saying, ‘This looks like it 
should be in the city.’ No, it should be 
here, because people like us live 
here. We were showing people that 
this kind of business can exist in 
this environment. The only thing 
about being ahead of the curve 
is that you’re ahead of the curve. 
We sold those businesses a couple 
of years ago. We were just tired.” 

• They sold one of their MaeDonough 
hrownstones in 2015 for $1.55 million. 

50 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 


Then, white 
residents began 
moving in. 

“I have ten cats. 

I’ve implemented a 
program called TNR: 
trap, neuter, release, 
but over time it’s 
become trap, neuter, 
retain. Certainly 
the neighbors were 
supportive when 
I started it. It opened 
some dialogues. 

It was clear that 
I cared about the neighborhood, 
and that went a long way with 
my neighbors. Whatever lingering 
doubts they might have had about 

this newcomer on the block, 

this kind of quieted those doubts.” 


Scott Irwin, 
a software 
engineer for 
bought his 
place in 2006 
for $755,000. 

Winslow Corbett 
has rented since 
2001. She pays less 
than $1 ,000. 

“I had nicknames. 
What’s up, 
snowflake?’ More 
recently, in 2006, 
an African- 
American woman 
in a minivan said 
tome; ‘Go back to 
your own neigh- 
borhood.’ And I 
was like, I’ve lived 
here since ...’But 
whatever. I get it. 

I was robbed 
in the street, and 
I know that if I 
had been black, 

I wouldn’t have 
had the same 
treatment from 
the pohce. They 
had me look 
at mug shots, and 
then they took 
me to canvas the 
neighborhood in 
the back of their 
car. They had 
these enormous 
floodlights, and 
they were literally 
shining the light 
in guys’ faces, 
going, ‘Is this 
him? Is this him?’ 
I remember 
feeling really 

Meanwhile, home prices nearly 
doubled from 2000 to 2010. 

LiOng-timers are divided 
on w newcomers. 

► Lynette 




bought her 

house in 


“Change is inevitable. 
My bigger concern 
is how it happens. 

It’s one thing for 
someone to buy a ' 

home and raise their 
family. You’re building 
a sense of community. , 
It’s another thing 
when you don’t know 1 
who or what is 
moving in. There also 
has to be something 

said about who 
can afford what. 

I have great pride 
in my home, in my 
block. I fix things and 
modernize, and I can 
do that bit by bit. 

As opposed to the 
person who starts 
out at $1.8 million 
and then can afford to 
invest another 
$1 million in it. It feels 
different. It puts us on 
different levels. Some 
people think of it 
as a home, other 
people think of it as 
an investment only.” 

“Scott is white. He was 
probably the second one that 
moved onto the block. And I 
just felt like they were moving 
into our neighborhood to take 
over. But I loved the space, 
so I said okay. And Scott has 
been the greatest landlord. 
He’s fair, he’s decent. I’m still 
paying under $1,200, which 
I have to thank God for.” 

► Scott’s tenant, 
Violet Russell, 
was skeptical at 
first about 
having a white 

Rents are going up, too. 

The price of a Bed- 
Stuy one-bedroom 
has increased 51 
percent since 2010. 

!l' Bed-Stuy 

■ Park Slope 

■ Bushwick 

■ Williamsburg 

Source: MNS Real Estate 






1 -Bedroom 

Mean home price, 









► Ronn Koontz, 



*Estimates based on Census data 
and reeorded sales. 


becoming popular 
with homeowners. 

“We had 
a horrible 
with a tenant 
upstairs. One 
time we went 
nine months 
without rent. 
We’re doing 


It’s constant, just constant. 

I don’t know the draw, hut 
they’re coming here from all 
over the world: Spain, Italy, 
Scotland, Paris. They love 
it here. We absolutely were 
not expecting so much 
demand. We work hard at it. 
But it’s still kind of surreal.” 

One satisfied ^ 

customer’s review: 

''The day we left, Ronn 
helped out by holding 
some baby food in their 
fridge after we had 
checked out . The hosts 
were very helpful 
every step of the way . " 

NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 51 

1990s to 2015 

As the block becomes richer and whiter, 

the older generation of residents is disappearing, 

and the fabric of the block has changed. 

Doc, June, and Brother have watched the 
changes from Brother's front stoop. 

From left, June, Brother (at top of stoop), 
a friend, and Doc. 

BROTHER: Iwasborn 
on this block. I’ve 
been here longer than 
this concrete been 
on the ground. 

DOC: There was a time 
I knew everybody in every 
house. Right now, it’s like 
30 percent of the block 
that I know. I was on the 
phone, and a lady over 
there told me, “I can hear 
you in my house— be quiet.” 
I’m a gentleman, so 
I apologized. I said, “I’m 
sorry if I was talking too 
loud on my phone, but 
I want to introduce myself 
My name is Gregory, and 
I’ve lived on the block for 
over 50 years.” “Okay, 
just don’t talk too loud.” 

She didn’t introduce 
herself. For real, that’s no 
good. I can’t come outside 
and have people acting 
like I’m not supposed to 
be here. I’ve been here 
my whole goddamn life. 

JUNE: This neighborhood 
here, nobody wanted 
to live in. Bed-Stuy was 
considered a slum. Now 
these houses are selling 
for $1.6 million. Do you — 
know how much land 
I could get down South 
for $1.6 million? 
BROTHER: That’s what 
they’re doing. They’re ■ — 
leaving, going to 
Virginia, the Carolinas. 
JUNE: Everyone wants 
to make money, but it’s 
like we’re getting pushed 
out. I don’t know about 
you, but could you afford 
$3,200 a month? 

That’s the main thing. 

It’s not a white-and-black 
thing; it’s a poor-and- 
rich thing. They want 
Brooklyn. They want this 
block. I get hyper 
when I start talking 
about this shit. 

I feel it to my bones, 
because I grew up here. 

What you can get 
for $1.6 million in 
Lexington County, 
South Carolina: 

An 8, 393 -square -foot 
lake house with five 
bedrooms and seven 
bathrooms, a 28 -foot 
foyer lined with 
columns, elaborate 
crown moldings , 
Brazilian walnut and 
travertine flooring, 
a stone- lined 
pool, a hot tub, 
a waterfall, and an 
outdoor kitchen 
with a Viking grill . 

► Geraldine Hinnant moved 
! to Florida in 2010. 

“The neighborhood had 
changed a lot. There 
definitely wasn’t that 
closeness, and I missed 
the way that it used to be.” 

► To their neighbors, the guys 
are the unofficial 
neighborhood watch. 


These steps next door 
are, like, the spot—\he 
main house in the whole 
neighborhood. Brother 
is the patriarch. Then 
there’s June and Doc. 
Doc is one of the 
most charismatic people 
I’ve ever met and 
my best friend in the 
When I first bought 
the house, I was like. 
Who are these guys? 

I was sort of nervous 
about it. But then once 
I met them, I was 
actually very comforted 
that they were there. 
They’re hilarious. 


Between 2009 and 
2013, the number of 
households making 
more than $149,000 
a year doubled. 

► The block sits on the border of two 
Census Bureau tracts. The north 
side’s tract encompasses similar 
blocks of brownstones. There, 
median income climbed from 
$36,81 1 in 2009 to $58,457 in 201 3, 
a huge jump in four years. The south 
side’s tract includes the Brevoort 
Houses, home to 2,000 low-income 
residents. There, median income 
fell from $31 ,063 to $23,556. 

The neighborhood 
home tour, once a 
source of pride, is now 
a pressure point. 

• The Brownstoners of Bed-Stuy 
house tour began in 1 978, “when 
black people didn’t think that it was a 
valuable place to live,” says Lynette 
Lewis-Rogers, the group’s president 
and a MacDonough resident. Now, 
“we joke and say perhaps we’ve done 
too good a job. We’ll easier get a 
white person who wants to show their 
home than we do a black person. 
They want to show their beautiful 
homes. But we don’t want to lose the 
reason that started this tour.” 

Highest Sales 

^ $1 ,560,000 


^ $1,550,000 


$1 ,545,000 


$1 ,410,000 


$1 ,350,000 




b $900,000 






^ $725,000 


52 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


Home prices have doubled 
in the past five years. 

The temptation 
to sell isn't there 
for everyone. 

The redone old-timers' 
bar on the comer had 
a Jay-and-Bey sighting. 

But what can feel 
like a community 
lost to some is 
a community 
found for others. 

“One evening 
I was 

coming home, 
and this 
was driving 
by. He smiled 
at me. 

I smiled back. 
He went round the block and 
came back. And he says, 
‘Excuse me, excuse me. Is that 
your house?’ I said. Yes.’ 

He said, ‘Do you want to 
sell?’ So I looked to see if 
there was a for sale sign on 
it. And I said to myself, 

‘Okay, I’ll play your game.’ 

And I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, 

‘How much do you want for 
it?’ I said, ‘Four million 
dollars.’ He said, ‘$4 
million? ! Why do you think 
your house is worth $4 
million?’ I said, ‘Because 
I have it. And you want it.’ 

I couldn’t care less how much 
the houses are going for. 

I might leave, but I’m still not 
selling. The house will 
go to my son.” 

► Cheslyn Lorde 
bought in 2000 
for $200,000. 

► Tushawn 
Booker, 50, 
lives in the 
home bought 
by his 

in 1959. 

“The reason I stay here is 
’cause this is my mom’s only 
home. It’s the only home she 
knows. I have four more years 
until I retire. I can move 
anywhere I want. I want to 
move to a state where I can 
get more money out of my 
pension than living here. 

I don’t want to have to retire 
and be a security guard at 
Home Depot.” 

The (new) 



I used to hang out 
at the Casablanca 
before its current 

It was owned by 
a woman named 
Esther. It was a 
serious old-timers’ 
bar— like 70 and 
up mostly. It was 
the best bar that 
I’ve ever known. 
You had to ring a 
doorbell to get in. 
It was a 
staple. All the old 
guys used to go 
in there and sing 
karaoke. I’m not 
saying it’s not nice 
now. But you 
want me to pay 
12 bucks for a 
glass of wine and 
I live right here? 
We’re starting to 
see a lot of folks 
I wouldn’t think 

they’d hang in 
Bed-Stuy. That’s 
a good thing. 
Before, Casablanca 
was just an old bar 
with an old ornery 
lady. Now it’s like 
a hip, fun place. 
Kind of rustic. 

I heard maybe 
a month or two 
ago that Beyonce 
and Jay Z were 
down there 
until two in the 

^ Jonn Carlson, 
co-owner of the 

“It felt like a place 
Curtis Mayfield 
would’ve met Isaac 
Hayes for a beer. 
We’ve been told tales 
of things that went 
on. People that as kids 
were scared walking 
by. Our mission 
statement always 
involved integrating 
with the community. 
You can very easily 
alienate people.” 

Even the meaning of hello 
is open to interpretation. 

Karama Horne: 

One of the biggest issues that 
people have is if you walk 
down the street and 
somebody says hi to you and 
you don’t speak. 

Michael Hoeppner: 

I felt like I had moved 
to a different country 
where I needed to be 
friendlier, frankly, talk to 
my neighbors more. 

Roslyn Morrison: 

It amazes me that you can 
live on the block and not 
speak to people. At the end 
of the day, you want 
someone to look out for you. 

Alexis Lamb: 

I see a lot of people 
interacting more, hanging 
out outside more, and just 
talking to their neighbors. 

When I was younger, 
I didn’t see that that much. 

Andreas Kokkino: 

I have a dog, Wanda. She is 
very popular. There is a 
woman across the street— 
she’ll talk to Wanda, but she 
won’t even look at me. Never. 

Scott Irwin: 

It is quite literally / 
the friendliest block 
I have ever lived on in 

my entire life. 4 V 

► Go online for an even more immersive visit to 
MacDonough Street, with other stories from residents, 
told out loud; video; historical artifacts; and the links 
between people and history arranged to more precisely 
capture the nonlinear way a neighborhood works. 

INTERVIEWS by: DW Gibson, Christopher Pomorski, and Kim Velsey. additional reporting by: Katie Levingston, 
Kiannah Sepeda-Miller, Eleanor Shanahan, Danielle Smith, Manuela Tobias, and James Walsh. 





co-founder and 
Creative Director of 


in 10022-SHOE on 8 
6:30 to 8:30 

To RSVP, kindly email 

NEW YORK, 611 FIFTH AVENUE. 212.753.4000 

Five novelists share their 
favorite characters from literature 
and then dress the part. 

Photographs hy 





from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 

“When Dracula starts 
turning Mina, she becomes 
telepathically connected 
to him. The fear was 
that erosion of the sharp 
boundary around your 
mind, not knowing where 
you start and where you 
end. Her situation isn’t 
all that different from a 
writer’s, because you have to 
let your mind go porous.” 

Kleeman is the author of You 
Too Can Have a Body Like Mine. 

Valentino gown, $12,500; 212-772- 
6969. Ellen Christine Couture hat, 
$465 to order at 212-242-2457. 
Gucci neck bow. Portolano gloves, 
$150 to order at 212-719-4403. 



dressed as 

from Toni Morrison’s Sula. 

“I imagine her as someone 
who earries herself very 
eonfidently in a world that 
doesn’t neeessarily eneourage 
that, not for a woman in 
general but speeifieally not 
for a hlaek woman.” 

• 0 - Flournoy is the author of 
The Turner House, 
a National Book Award finalist. 

Marni jacket, $3,010; 212-543- 
3912. Adrienne Landau fur 
scarf, $395 at Saks Fifth 
Avenue; 212-753-4000. 
Albertus Swanepoel hat, $350 
to order at 212-629-1090. 

359-0300. Salvatore Ferragamo 
cummerbund, $270; 212-759-3822. 


dressed as 

from the Ian Fleming series. 

“Who hasn’t fantasized about 
being utterly eompetent, 
impeeeably dressed, supremely 
unflappable, and in possession 
of multiple passports?” 

Mandel is the author 
of Station Eleven. 


dressed as 

from Patricia Highsmith’s 
The Talented Mr. Ripley. 

“Ripley is one of the greatest 
villains. The villains 
are always the eharaeters 
the author has the most fun 
writing, and they usually 
get the best lines.” 

Yanagihara is the author of 
A Little Life, a National Book Award 
finalist that was shortlisted 
for the Man Booker Prize. 

£tro robe, $1,735; 212-317-9096. 
F.R.S. For Restless Sleepers shirt, 
$805 at Celine 
earrings, $590; 212-535-3703. 
Foundrae signet ring, $3,725 at Burberry eyeglasses, 
$215 at 


dressed as 

from Jamaica Kincaid’s ^nnzeJo^n. 

“She was a very willful, 
independent spirit, 
always about bueking the 
eonventions of West 
Indian girlhood. It was 
the first time I had 
read a eharaeter like that.” 

Jackson is the author of 
The Star Side of Bird Hill. 

Interviews hy 
Catie L’Heureux 



^ 1 

i > V'-.. 

> 1 ,. 





Marina Rinaldi coat, $790, and 
blouse, $830; 212-754-4533. 

Eric Javits hat, $350 at 
Salvatore Ferragamo pocket square, 
$140. Gucci bag, $2,490; 
212-826-2600. Bittersweets NY ring, 
$850 at Catbird; 718-599-3457. 

NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 59 


get the 



ComrTHBviowr Bratton; 'if You Don't Like Beoing 
Homelesfi Profile. Stop Giving Them Money' 

Appeals CoLTl WIi Not Aflow Qbam? to 
Stop Deporting the Undocumented 
Parents of Amencan Children 

Cetebnty Poll: Would Von Rather Have 
Deiner With Ben Carson or Do«^ 






Photograph b^y Bobbp Doherty 




TU£ goal: 

Fi nd a himdheld 
:aii opt^ner for the 
faced w\ih to^Mcrs 
of canned cianberry 
^uce and organic 
pumpkin piir^. 

Local chefs and gadget VH 
obsessis'cs guided us 
toward designs with strong 
blades, tight clasps, and 
grippy plastic handles, \ / 
all to make fur a seamless 
twisting experience 
6iee of palm cramping. 
THE VERDICT; Good CoDlc'^f 
ufo-cut can O'pomr ($13 At 
AmnzoiLCom) doesn’t ftinction 
in the usual manner (cutting 
into a can's sunken top). 
Instead, the blades wi>rk thdr 
w^ay around the outer sides, 
a few mtlUmeters h^tyw 
the rim, separating die entire 
top in a clean sw'oop. Unlike 
the traditional two-ami 
pineh^ this one doesn’t come 
with a bottle upener lacked 
on* hot its minimalist design 
(a single blade attached 
to one longt isUni handle) 
takes up only aboul 
four inches of drawijr space. 

Edited hy Jessica Silvester 



j CLUSTE^[ — 

Joining^Nest Greenpoint’s homewares 
district are vintage-focused Copper+Plaid and 
family-run Burson & Reynolds. 

■ From the Source: Chairs 
made of recycled oil drums 
($325); teak open-storage 
side tables ($375). 69 West St 

‘ Adaptations NY: 

Embroidered Moroccan poufs 
($275); mid-century dressers 
($695). 109 Franklin St. 


Romy Northover 
macchiato mugs 
with liquid 
22-karat gold 
($62); vases made 
with excavated 
clay (from $85). 
107 Franklin St 

Burson & Reynolds: 

Cast-iron “scary rabbit” 
bottle openers ($10); 
Kerry Cassbl 
pillowcases ($76). 
649 Manhattan Ave. 



Copper+Plaid: Vintage 
caribou antlers ($575); 
early-1900s boar-bristle 
shoe-shine brush ($45). 
655 Manhattan Ave. 

* Home of the Brave: 

Ceramic French presses 
($120); custom-made 
black flag 
blankets ($165). 


Lodro Rinzier is the 

chief spiritual officer at 
MNDFL, the city’s first 
walk-in meditation 
studio (1 0 E. 8th St. ). 

So this is like 
jT ^ SoulCycle 


“Yes. Most 
'^ditation eenters 
have a minimum 
two-hour eommitment; our 
sessions are 30 minutes. We’ve 
assembled a team of the best 
meditation teachers from all 
different traditions, and we offer 
a wide variety of elasses: If you 
ean’t sleep, there’s MNDFL sleep, 
where you’ll take deep breaths to 
help deeompress and relax your 
body. If you’re feeling low-energy, 
you eould take MNDFL energy, 
where there will be a lot of quick 
inhalations and exhalations. 

The last few minutes are always 
question-and-answer time 
for everyone who might have 
tried meditation through an app 
and wondered, say, if it’s 
normal to start seeing eolors.” 

Two glamorous French brands arrive 
just in time for winter. 


267 W. 4th St. 

Open through early Deeember 


786 Madison Ave. 
November 18 

This summer, after stints 
at Azzaro and A.RC., 
Seward presented her first 
eponymous women’s 


In 1910, Gregory Salomon 
entered the fur trade. Now 
his great-grandson Thomas 
is opening the brand’s first 
retail spaces. 

A pop-up occupying a 
quarter of the A.RC. store, 
in the inky blue accents of 
her Raris store, with dark 
denim and shearlings. 


Seven hundred square 
feet, with marble shelving 
and brass accents holding 
men’s, women’s, and kids’ 
fur-accented outerwear. 

’70s-style “Abaca” 
sheepskin shearling 
coat ($3,675), purchased 
by Katie Holmes on 
the shop’s opening day. 

Celebrity Rflianna wears the rabbit- 
Pick and-coyote-fur-lined 
army parka (from $1,950), 
using the oversize drawstring 
hood to avoid paparazzi. 


'^Festive Carving Knives 

Slice that turkey with flair. 


I VO Virtu chef’s knife, 
$130 at 

Gyuto knife, 

$117 at the Brooklyn Kitchen 
(100 Frost St., Williamsburg). 


2A. J. Jji ± 0 U Xv Jji 

Taylor Haney , whose start-up 
Outdoor Voices sells minimalist hoodies and 
sweat-wicking slouchy pants, 
just opened a shop at 199 Lafayette Street. 

“We’ve been 
making our 
soft tees ($65) 
and textured 
leggings ($95) 
since 2013, when 
athleisure was still 
a new term. But we 
could tell this was 
something people 
really wanted, and 
now we’ve raised 
$7 million in Series 
A funding and 
designed our first 
New York store to 
reflect all of the 
different things you 

can do in these 
clothes. We have a 
modular stack of 
foam mats and 3-D 
shapes, so you can 
feel how you bend 
and stretch in each 
item. We also see 
the space as a 
starting point for 
activity— we 
organize yoga 
classes and hiking 
meet-ups, so you 
can wear our new 
merino-wool jogging 
pants ($135) there. 
Or to brunch in 
the neighborhood.” 


On November 19, the modernist Italian furniture brand Arper (476 Broadway) will open its first East Coast 
showroom. Here, CEO Claudio Feltrin picks his favorite self-balancing chairs and casual ottomans. 

“The Kinesit chair 

(from $1,183) has a self- 
balancing mechanism hidden 
in its seat that adjusts 
the tension of the chair based 
on the user’s weight.” 

“I love the architect Lina Bo 
Bardi; when I discovered 
drawings of this bowl chair 
($5,670) that she never 
produced, I manufactured a 
limited series of 500.” 

“This Ply table (from $656) 
looks so simple but is actually 
very difficult to produce 
because it’s a single piece of 
curved wood with three legs. 

“Pix (from $734) is our 
collection of casual ottomans, 
and each one comes in over 
100 fabrics. It’s made out of 
a strong foam, so it’s soft, but it 
won’t sink if you sit on it.” 

“The Parentesit (from $1,383) 
is a big, beautiful 
wall-mounted speaker that 
can also be customized 
with LED lights.” 

62 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 




Vocalist and 
Songwriter, the Cars 

Didn’t we interviewyour 
son for “The Look Book” 
last year? 

Yes, and I’m actually going 
to pick Ollie up from 
school. When I’m here on 
the Upper West Side, I like 
to stop into Zahar’s for a 
snack. I love their olives. 

I used to hate olives, until 
I went to Greece a few years 
ago, and now I’m obsessed! 

What are your other 
go-to spots? Well, I love 
Bouley for dinner. Hands 
down, the best food. 

But when people want to 
take a meeting with me, 

I always make it at Coffee 
Shop; they can’t hear 
anything I say because 
I talk so soft, and I can’t 
hear what they’re saying, 
so it’s always a big ball 
of confusion, and no one 
gets anything done, so 
I think that’s successful. 

Do you still go out a lot? 

Not really. I’ll only go out 
if I’m seeing a band 
that I got a demo from that 
I might produce. But 
sometimes, if I see bands 
play and I really like them. 
I’ll think to myself. Why 
aren’t I doing that? But 
then I don’t really feel like 
doing it, so I don’t, but it 
gets me, like, kind of pissed. 
I also know how it feels 
to be up there onstage and 
all that stuff, so I can 
kind of see through the 
magic curtain or whatever. 


Photograph hy Bohhy Doherty 


Gramercy. “I like being 
near all the good 
restaurants and all 
the protests in Union 
Square Park” 

“I probably have about 
200 pairs. I wear 
the same ones all the 
time and ehange them 
when they break.” 
Favorite designer: 
Comme des Gargons. 
Favorite building: 
740 Park Avenue. 
Favorite street: Bleeeker. 
“When I first eame to 
New York in the ’60s, 

I used to play my guitar 
on Bleeeker Street while 
looking for Bob Dylan. 
I never found him.” 





The Center Hall 

Brett Leemkuil 
upholstered the 
walls in irideseent 
taffeta and eovered the 
eeiling in Dorothy 
Draper’s Brazillianee 
pattern. The 
ehandelier’s Indian- 
sari embellishments 
were found at Daytona 
Trimmings in 
the Garment Distriet. , 


A designer who turned his 4 65 -square-foot 
Sunnyside apartment into a Shanghai-meets-Hollywo( 


Photographs hy Floto+Warner 

NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 65 


says that at a young age, he already had 
somewhat of a maximalist sensibility: 
“My childhood bedroom was a sytn< 
phony of golds, yellows, browns; and 
a feature wall of treillage Mylar 
per.” Today, he lives in a 465-square7fop5J 
Sunnyside, Queens, studio aparthj^l that' 
feels out of a different place and iinw, The 
designer turned the dinir^ alc^y^ito a 
bed lair by layering fabrih and; .#■ rors 
over jewel-tone-painted wffls thrijfeghout, 
and treated the space lika^ theitfer set: 
The walls, upholstered in E^achfte sheet- 
ing fabric designed by Hut^n Vf^ilkinson 
for Home Shopping Net^rk,,'!are also 
hung with leopard gayon^^^et backed 


with coral shantung silk— but the sheet- 
ing fabric doesn’t back the entire wall; it 
just covers what is visible to the eye. The 
central mirror (which Leemkuil picked 
up off the street, painted Kelly green, 
then glazed in a soft gold) is flanked by 
four other mirrors that he bought at his 
local 99-cent store, which, he says, “help cre- 
ate that feeling of openness and grandeur.” 
Leemkuil, who considers himself “an old- 
school, hands-on decorator,” has spent years 
digging through flea markets and junk 
shops and found the 19th-century Chinese 
pith paintings— which he framed and hung 
in his foyer in their original glass-fronted 
boxes— while rummaging through bins at 

the 26th Street flea. And he trawls eBay to 
find more Culver barware in his favorite 
mushroom pattern. Leemkuil has created a 
bar worthy of Nick and Nora Charles from 
The Thin Man, which he made by removing 
the shelves of the entrance-hall coat closet 
and adding reverse glass paintings, framed 
petit point, and rope trim. Leemkuil says he 
lives by the late Hollywood design icon Tony 
Duquette’s mantra, “Beauty, not luxury, is 
what I value,” though he didn’t actually visit 
Duquette’s Beverly Hills home, Dawnridge, 
until a few years ago. “Becoming aware of 
Tony Duquette confirmed I wasn’t out of 
my mind. Going to Dawnridge was like 
coming home for me.” 


The Entrance Hall 

“I love large-format 
pieees in a small spaee,” 
Leemkuil says of the 
ehandelier, mounted 
Japanese textiles, and 
mirror surrounded 
with 19th-eentury 
Chinese pith paintings. 

The Living Room 

The sofa and Tabriz 
earpet were from a Doyle 
auction. The glass-and- 
ehrome eoffee table 
is vintage ’70s, and the 
standing brass lamp by 
the sofa is Koeh ^ Lowy. 

68 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 

Illustration by Jason Lee 

The Bar 

“My whippet on the 
tray is named Baehelor. 
I bought him at 
an Astoria antiques 
store. He’s very 
low maintenanee.” 

Edited hy 

Rob Patronite and 

Robin Raisf eld 



Up in the New Hotels 

Two veteran ehefs expand their 
brands, with varying degrees of success. 


L ike a venerable touring theater 
director, Laurent Tourondel has 
mounted many productions over the 
years on a hundred different stages, 
although the setting for his latest restau- 
rant, L’Amico, could be better. Casual 
Italian cooking is the theme of the mae- 
stro’s new production (past themes have 
included burgers, steak, and, as his most 
devoted fans will recall, the intricate glories 
of haute seafood), and the room 
sits off the north end of the lobby of 
the Event! Hotel in the Flower Dis- 
trict. The new Portuguese restau- 
rant Lupulo happens to sit off the 
south end, which gives the whole 
operation an unfortunate food- 
court feel. L’Amico also borders 
the east side of the building, which 
means that on warm evenings, the 
windows are thrown open to the 
noisy chaos of Sixth Avenue and you can 
enjoy the fresh-baked aroma of your wood- 
fired pizza mingled with traffic fumes ema- 
nating from the street. 

Thankfully, the quality of said pizza at 
L’Amico (like the quality of, say, the cod 
casserole or the grilled sardines at Lupulo) 
goes a long way toward mitigating these 
potentially challenging circumstances, and 

on a dark fall evening, with the windows 
shut tight and the wood-burning oven 
emitting pleasing baking smells from the 
corner of the open kitchen, you may not 
notice them at all. Tourondel is a French- 
man, but he and his chef de cuisine, Amy 
Eubanks, imbue their pizza with character- 
istics of both the New York and Neapoli- 
tan styles, which means the pie is a small, 
civilized size, the soft edges are puffed up 
in a comforting Neapolitan way, 
and the toppings are inventively 
sourced (tiy the classic soppressata, 
or the mushroom, or the strangely 
refreshing combination of shishito 
peppers, onions, and Esposito sau- 
sage), and the crust has a nicely 
charred New York crunch. 

The same kind of skill goes into 
constructing the crostini (with 
three kinds of toppings, includ- 
ing peel^oe crab), the antipasti, and the 
pastas, although, in the custom of rustico 
Italian establishments everywhere, some of 
the portion sizes and the bounty of choices 
can be overwhelming. The veal-and-pork- 
meatball appetizer is a meal in itself, espe- 
cially if you choose to complement these 
little monsters with a helping of yellowtail 
crudo (brightly flavored with shavings of 

lime) or a chunk of country toast, which 
the kitchen spreads with Gorgonzola, 
slices of roasted pear, and thick ribbons of 
prosciutto. If you’re still hungry, there are 
several salads to choose from (try the Brus- 
sels sprouts with salsify) and six varieties 
of ravioli and pasta, all covered with uni- 
formly rich, gut-busting toppings like veal 
shoulder Bolognese (over the pipe rigate), 
spicy sausage (the fiisilli), and disks of black 
truffle poured with brown butter (the excel- 
lent smoked-ricotta gnudi). 

Being a hotel operation, L’Amico is also 
open for lunch as well as Sunday brunch, so 
you may want to return another time to the 
noisy little room to sample the entrees and 
desserts, several of which are a cut above 
the usual rustico experience. The poultry 
dishes I sampled (the pink, crispy-skinned 
duck breast with farro; the charred, lemony 
chunks of roast chicken) are textbook exam- 
ples of the wood-oven-cooking technique, 
and the fillet of black sea bass (served over a 
pillow of olive-oil mashed potatoes) looked 
and tasted like an elegant holdover from 
one of Tourondel’s grand old seafood pro- 
ductions. Ditto the desserts, in particular a 
dense, caramel-colored apple-walnut cake, 
and the scoop of housemade Meyer-lemon 
gelato, which is folded with blueberries 
and hidden bits of crunchy meringue and 
served inside a hollowed-out frozen lemon, 
atop a little pedestal of ice. 

THERE ARE FEW such dclicacies available 
at Jonathan Waxman’s hectic, somewhat 
haphazard revival of his famous ’8 Os-era 
uptown restaurant. Jams, which has 
reopened, more or less in name only, at the 
bottom of the 1 Hotel, also on Sixth Avenue, 

★ ★★★★ ETHEREAL 








849 Sixth Ave., 
at 30th St. 


1414 Sixth Ave., 
at 58th St. 

70 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


a couple of blocks below Central Park. 
There’s an impressive fagade of vines cover- 
ing the entrance wall, and the ground-floor 
space is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows 
set in posh metal frames. But the decor 
looks less like a sunny piece of California 
(Waxman’s famous theme at the original 
Jams) than like the vaguely utilitarian din- 
ing area of a cash-rich internet start-up. The 
walls are exposed brick, the floors are con- 
crete, and the room is lit by the dim glow of 
a few rickety-looking filament-bulb chande- 
liers. This being midtown, much of the 
energy emanates from the bar area, which 
tends to fill up during the cocktail hour with 
a noisy scrum of backslapping salarymen. 

Tourondel was a constant presence 
when I dropped into L’Amico, but one gets 
the sinking feeling that the venerable and 
talented Waxman, who runs the fine West 
Village restaurant Barbuto, has signed his 
name to this production, then wandered 
off to tend to his other ventures. My order 
of salmon-and-creme-fraiche-topped Jams 
Pancakes looked like a bedraggled, waxen 
reproduction of this famous dish, and my 
swordfish entree would have worked better 
if the long beans accompanying it weren’t 
cold. The crackly- skinned, tarragon- 
flavored Jams Chicken still has some life to 
it, however, and so does the chef’s famous 
fried gnocchi, which I enjoyed one evening, 
with an overcooked Jams Burger, at the bar. 
The best of the wan, weirdly beige-colored 
desserts is the flan (flavored with maple 
when I tried it), and like much of the food, it 
works better at lunchtime, when the room 
fills up, like a proper California restaurant, 
with streams of sunshine. 


L’AMICO: The cooking approaches three 
stars. Minus a star for the room. 

jams: One star for the old Jams favorites, 
especially at lunch, minus a star for the flat 
hotel vibe. 


L’AMICO: IDEAL HEAL: Brussels-sprout 
salad, sausage pizza, black sea bass, Meyer- 
lemon gelato. NOTE: If the “ham and egg” 
is a pizza special, order it. OPEN: Dinner 
nightly; lunch Monday to Saturday; brunch 
Sunday. PRICES: Appetizers, $8 to $18; 
entrees, $18 to $29. 

jams: ideal HEAL: Gnocchi with 
Parmesan, Jams Chicken, flan. NOTE: The bar 
serves a nice roster of old classics, including 
a very good Sazerac. OPEN: Dinner nightly; 
weekday lunch and weekend brunch. PRICES: 
Appetizers, $13 to $21; entrees, $21 to $37. 


Double-Decker Broccoli Taco 

The broccoli-obsessed chef Tyler Kord opened his No. 7 Veggie pop-up 
at UrbanSpace Vanderbilt with a lofty goal in mind— an unavoidable 
consequence, he says, of an Oberlin education. “If I can get people to 
eat less meat, then I have done the world a huge service.” The greatest 
achievement of this brand expansion, though, might be the bigger 
midtown stage it’s afforded Kord’s ingenious broccoli taco. The menu 
mainstay at his No. 7 restaurant proper in Fort Greene is an archi- 
tecturally advanced, multitextured marvel inspired 
by none other than Taco Bell. So if Kord realizes his 
plan to spin off more No. 7 Veggies, making the world 
a better, broccoli-friendlier place, you can thank the 
fast-food megachain too. r.r. & r.p. 

On the menu at 
No. 7 Veggie 

at UrbanSpace 
Vanderbilt; $6; 230 
Park Ave., at 45th St; 

TAp soft tortilla 

is gluten-free. 

The broccoli 

is roasted and 
shredded to 
approximate the 
texture of ground 
heef then sauteed 
with a shallot 

A swabbing of 

housemade black- 
bean hummus 

acts like high-grade 



a erunehy eeho 
of the hard- 
shell tortilla. 

Feta cheese adds 
salt and tang. 

The elassie gringo- 
style hard-sheW 
corn tortlWa provides 
strueture and 
textural eontrast. 

Photograph by Bohhy Doherty 




72 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 

Photographs hy Bohhy Doherty 



Pumpkin Pie in a 
Gingersnap Crust, $20 


Babka Pie, $35 


kitchen’s Honeycrisp 
I Apple Blossom Tart, $50 


Walt and the Blackbirds 
Ice-Cream Pie, $52 


Dried Plum Walnut 
LinzerTart, $26 

Ansel upends apple pie’s 
custonnary selling points 
(soft-cooked fruit, homeyness) 
by constructing a meticulously 
whorled flower out of 
eight raw Honeycrisps sliced 
mille-feuille-thin and set in 
an apple-butter base. It’s 
as much corsage as dessert. 

157 Seventh Ave. S., 
nr. Charles St; 212-242-5111; 
orders require 
48-hour advance notice. 

[ Three pints of Nonna D’s 
; brown-sugar-cinnamon-and- 
! oatmeal-lace-cookie ice cream 
meet one Salty Honey pie on 
; equally delicious terms. This 

■ is a first-time collaboration 
; between Ample Hills 

r Creamery and Four & Twenty 
Blackbirds pie shop, and 
; since honey— let alone salty 
[ honey— doesn’t freeze, you 

■ don’t need a hammer and 

: chisel to eat it. Available for, 

: and pickup November 

2 1 through 25 at Ample 
: Hills locations in Gowanus and 
Prospect Heights. 

Peter Endriss’s cocoa-and- 
fall version of the classic 
Austrian torte swaps 
walnuts for almonds and 
a prune filling for raspberry 
jam. The result is crumbly, 
not too sweet, perfect with 
coffee, and intended for 
grown-ups unafraid to call 
dried plums by their rightful 
name. 285 Third Ave., 
nr. Carroll St, Gowanus; 

718-576-5560; orders require 
48-hour advance notice. 

Surprisingly refreshing and 
subtly tangy goat’s-milk 
ice cream is flavored 
with pumpkin and its 
attendant autumnal spices 
(allspice, mace, cinnamon), 
then packed into a gluten-free 
gingersnap-cookie crust. 

51 Carmine St, nr. Bleecker St; 
212-206-7275; orders must be 
prepaid and require 24-to-48- 
hour advance notice. 

New York’s best chocolate 
babka turns into a chocolate- 
babka pie around the holidays. 
They make it by adding 
an extra layer of dough 
(not to mention more 
chocolate and Nutella), which 
crisps up and takes on a 
biscuity, cookielike texture 
when baked in a pie pan. 

18 E. 16th St, nr. Union Sq. W.; 


The onetime symbol of purity and goodness has heeome as eontroversial as 

Foods, I rounded a display of 
quinoa macaroni, continued 
past a fridge stacked with 
local kimchee and lacto-fer- 
mented sauerkraut, ignored the child to my 
right who’d just shattered a bottle of spar- 
kling matcha tea, and paused for a moment 
in the mouth of the dairy aisle. There 
before me were no fewer than 20 types of 
milk— the typical array of fat contents, of 
course, but also an entire universe removed 
from the cow 

“Fifty percent more calcium than milk,” 
said one carton of almond milk. ‘A delicious 
alternative to soy,” noted the label of an 
“organic oat nondairy beverage.” There was 
rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, cashew 
milk ... enough choices to make the pasta 
section— which, in the wake of the anti- 
gluten movement, has forced us to weigh 
the relative merits of brown-rice pasta ver- 
sus mung-bean pasta— seem sparse. 

Dairy and gluten have become evil twins 
in “elimination” diets, the holistic therapy 
of the moment, as people swear they feel 
less bloated and lethargic without them. 



Photographs hy Bohhy Doherty 


(Not incidentally, sales of cow’s milk have essentially 
flattened in recent years, while nondairy alternatives, 
led by almond milk, are up nearly 100 percent, 
reaching about $2 billion in annual sales.) Best-sell- 
ing authors like the integrative physician Mark 
Hyman maintain that, like the gluten in wheat, milk 
elements interact with our gut bacteria in such a way 
as to trigger an inflammatory response from the 
immune system. 

But this theory, as far as gluten is concerned, has 
been seriously undermined: Most notable are the 
findings by a team of Australian researchers who sug- 
gest that at least some of the people who think they’re 
sensitive to gluten (and who don’t have celiac disease, 
the gluten-induced autoimmune disorder) really 
aren’t. The true culprit, they argue, maybe a group of 
common carbohydrates lumped under the acronym 
FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccha- 
rides and polyols). They’re found in foods like beans, 
onions, and, yes, milk— lending credibility to those 
“daily sensitivity” claims. 

Nobody disputes that the sugar in milk, lactose, 
frequently causes digestive upset. As many as 15 per- 
cent of Americans seem to be genuinely lactose intol- 
erant, and we’ll get into the why and what of it on the 
next page. But for the lactose tolerant, there’s a more 
basic question: Should you drink milk? Or, more to 
the point, is it good for you? 

Some of those who hold that it is think it’s because 
they’re winning the raging debate over saturated fat: 
The old belief that the animal fat in whole milk raises 
cholesterol levels and promotes heart disease— ush- 
ered in during the 1950s by researcher-physiologist 
Ancel Keys— has newly been called into question. A 
major BMJ study published this year concluded that 
diets high in saturated fat are not linked to a higher 
risk of heart disease. Harvard nutrition researcher 
Walter Willett, among others, has done a study show- 
ing that full-fat milk may confer modest weight-loss 
benefits compared with low-fat (it would seem that 
whole milk is more filling, so you subsequently eat 
less). And according to one recent Harvard School of 
Public Health study, consumption of dairy fat may 
actually lower the risk of heart disease. 

But the new pro-fat corner hasn’t conclusively 
made the case that whole milk is a health food either. 
Nutrition eminences like Willett are now trying to 
temper the debate— just because saturated fat isn’t as 
pernicious as we thought doesn’t make it good. He 
recommends weighing the healthiness of saturated 
fat relative to whatever you would be eating in its 
place: According to a study he co-authored last year, 
when you replace some of the saturated fats in your 
diet with unsaturated fats or whole grains, you get an 
improvement in heart health; with refined starches, 
you get no gain at all. Such a nuanced, split-the-dif- 
ference approach doesn’t sit well with those more 
unapologetically in favor of saturated fat— journalist 
Nina Teicholz, the author of last year’s briskly selling 
book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and 
Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, dismisses the Willett 
logic as “a graceful retreat fi^om a failed [fat] hypoth- 


Grass-Fed: Milk made 
using cows that eat just 
grass and hay. Not only 
does grass-feeding sup- 
posedly improve taste, it 
increases milk’s beneficial 
fats, including omega-3s. 

Guernsey: This cow 
breed’s milk is rich in 
protein and beta- 
carotene; the latter 
lends it a golden hue. 

Holstein: The leading 
dairy breed in the U.S. 
Some theorize that what 
many of us believe to 
be ‘lactose intolerance” 
is actually an inability to 
digest the protein Al, 
found in Holstein cows. 

Homogenized: A largely 
aesthetic process that 
breaks up milk-fat mole- 
cules to combine them 
with milk’s water content, 
thus eliminating the 
fat cap that once sat atop 
the milkman’s bottles. 

Organic: Milk must 
come from a cow that 
has received no bovine 
growth hormone, antibi- 
otics, wormers, or feed 
containing animal 
by-products or excretion- 
aiding “roughage”; the 
cow must have access to 
the outdoors and to 
sunlight and be grass-fed 
for four months a year. 

Pasteurized: Milk that’s 
briefly heated to kill 
harmful bacteria, but 
not so long that the 
nutrients are destroyed. 

Raw: Milk that is neither 
pasteurized nor homoge- 
nized. In New York, 
the sale of raw milk is 
only legal at farms. 

rBGH-Free: Without the 
hormone injected into 
dairy cattle that increases 
milk production. Widely 
used by factory farms in 
the U.S., it’s been banned 
in many other parts of 
the world, given its dele- 
terious effects on cows. 


Milk heated at an even 
higher temperature for 
an even shorter amount 
of time than in traditional 
pasteurization, extending 
the milk’s life span 
and sometimes even 
rendering it shelf-stable. 

esis.” So as you calculate the merits of whole versus 2 
percent, 1 percent, or skim, all you can say for sure is 
that lower-fat milks don’t have a clear-cut health edge 
over the higher-fat varieties. They’re just lower in 
calories (and that may not go veiy far in helping your 
waistline, anyway). 

Was milk a simpler nutritional proposition in this 
country in the days before industrialized farming? 
Not exactly. Settlers brought the first dairy cows to 
North America in the early l600s, and while milk 
was regarded as a useful source of fuel, milk-borne 
pathogens like listeria had laid people low before pas- 
teurization became routine in the 1920s. After vita- 
min D was added to cow’s milk in the ’30s, the bever- 
age became a one-stop-shopping solution for healthy 
bone growth and the vitamin-deficiency disease rick- 
ets. “Our relationship to dairy was one of reverence,” 
says Dr. David Katz, the director of Yale’s Prevention 
Research Center. 

And naturally, the dairy industry has wanted to 
maintain that relationship. (Think of the “Milk. It 
does a body good” commercials.) But as it turns out— 
and here’s a recent development where there does 
seem to be some consensus— regardless of what you 
learned growing up, you don’t need milk (or any daily) 
to enjoy a healthy diet after the age of 2. Authorities 
like Katz and Willett— and indeed most nutrition sci- 
entists, even those whose research is subsidized by the 
still-powerful National Daily Council— agree that you 
can get enough calcium and potassium by eating 
whole grains and leafy green cruciferous vegetables 
like kale, arugula, and broccoli. (Of course, for families 
in neighborhoods with inadequate supermarkets, 
milk might be the easier choice.) Two recent studies 
published in the BMJ show no connection between 
calcium consumption and bone breaks in those over 
50. Plus, there are the environmental implications: all 
the methane emissions and water consumption asso- 
ciated with raising enough livestock for people to con- 
sume the USDA-recommended three glasses of milk 
a day. If we actually followed those current “MyPlate” 
standards, we’d be doubling daily consumption in the 
U.S.— what Willett calls a “radical” position. 

Ultimately, then, milk is a consumer product, not 
a medicine. Many of us have no intention of giving 
up more modest amounts of the stuff that goes so 
well with coffee, or a bowl of Cheerios, or a superfood 
smoothie— because we enjoy it. In which case, per- 
haps the sensible approach to the modem dairy aisle 
is with your specific needs— and wants— in mind. 
Each type of milk competing for your attention offers 
an experience, a health claim, and a projected life- 
style all its own. People going Paleo can turn to addi- 
tive-free coconut milk. Some might like the sill^ 
consistency of soy milk. Others might have taken to 
vanilla almond milk ever since their local third-wave 
coffee shop started offering it (perhaps not noticing 
all the extra sugars and thickening gums in the 
ingredients). For those of us who don’t shun dairy, 
there’s whole milk from grass-fed cows, which, 
according to Michael Pollan, might be the greatest- 
tasting milk of all. JOSEPH HOOPER 

76 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


Are You Really Lactose Intolerant? 

It could just he the casein talking. 


What Happens 
in Your Body. 

AS INFANTS , healthy human be- 
ings produce an enzyme in the gut 
called lactase, which allows them to 
digest the sugar in dairy (lactose). 
For most of the world, the gene that 
controls the production of lactase 
begins to gradually shut down 
during childhood— making people 
what we call lactose intolerant. 
(Nature didn’t think it was neces- 
sary to keep the gene in the “on” 
position once a child was weaned 
from the breast.) However, when 
people first began dairy farming 
roughly 9,000 years ago, a varia- 
tion of this gene was, over time, 
introduced into the human gene 
pool, most widely in Northern Eu- 
rope, where drinking milk became 
business as usual. Descendants of 
these farmers inherit the gene that 
keeps the lactose-busting enzyme 
pumping for a lifetime; hence the 
huge disparity in rates of lactose 
intolerance in the U.S. by racial/ 
ethnic group. For those who can’t 
handle the lactose, consuming 
unfermented daily products, espe- 
cially milk, causes those nasty 
if non-life-threatening symp- 
toms— gas, bloating, constipation, 

How Does Laetaid 
Actually Work? 

Milk for people who can’t 
drink milk, Lactaid adds the 
lactase enzyme to cow’s milk 
to help neutralize the (gas- ■ 
and-diarrhea-producing) 1 
effects of lactose. However, .j 

lactase has never been 
formally evaluated by the 
FDA— which, in fact, 
recommends consulting a 
doctor before ingesting it. 

How to Get Diagnosed. 

“The hydrogen breath test is a very 
accurate way to find out if you’re lac- 
tose intolerant,” says Dr. Sheila E. 
Crowe, director of gastroenterology 
research at the UC San Diego School 
of Medicine and vice-president of the American Gas- 
troenterological Association. For people who are unable 
to degrade the lactose by the time it gets to their colon, 
this simple breath test at the doctor’s office will show a 
rise in the levels of hydrogen, which is being expelled as 
a result of their lactose intolerance. 

Or Diagnose Yourself. 


\ Q 

Who’s Hurting? 



lactose intolerance.* 


9 * But there’s an even easier, cheaper way to 
do this at home, notes Crowe. “Drink a 
^ass of sMm milk on an empty stomach. 
If within a couple hours of drinking it 
you don’t have any GI symptoms— 
bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea— you 
probably aren’t lactose intolerant.” 



sr ^ 

*Data compiled from various scientific sourc^ 

**Less common in those with Northern Europl^an ^cestry, more common 
in those with Jewish, Arab, Italian, or Greek aiicest^y 

lN7AM_E RI can S * * 


And what might be the other reasons for 
your milk-mduced discomfort? 


/Tltis is when your immune 
system thinks the two 
main proteins in milk, 
beta-lactoglobulin and 
casein, are harmful and 
will trigger an allergic 
reaction. Infants and 
kids can experience rashes, 
hives, and asthmalike 
wheezing as well as a 
range of GI symptoms. 

If you suspect your child 
has a milk allergy, he or 
she should be seen by an 
allergist for testing. If it’s 
confirmed, you’ll be told 
not to feed your child any 
dairy products. Most kids 
outgrow it by their teens. 


People with irritable- 
bowel syndrome and 
other FGIDs (functional 
gastrointestinal disorders) 
like functional dyspepsia 
are sometimes sensitive 
to fat, especially animal 
fat. They experience 
symptoms similar to 
lactose intolerance^ 

but really they’re 
reacting to the fat in 
milk, triacylglycerol. 
Switching to skim milk 
and other low-fat 
dairy products can help. 



This is an allergic disorder 
recognized only in the past 
15 years— and found in an 
estimated 50 in 100,000 
people, both young 
children and adults— that 
affects just the esophagus. 
People can be allergic to 
milk, wheat, soy, or eggs, 
and instead of having an 
acute response with classic 
allergic symptoms, their 
esophagus will become 
inflamed and narrower 
over time. Symptoms 
include difficulty 
swallowing, heartburn, 
and food getting stuck 
when you swallow. If your 
determines that milk is 
your offending food, 
you’ll need to eliminate it. 



What Milkfor What Age 

There’s little evidenee that anyone other than babies aetually 
needs milk (if one is getting key nutrients elsewhere), but the latest 
resear eh helps make a ease for some ehoiees over others. 

A Baby 

A Kid A Teenager 

Breast milk (hut 
formula works, too) 

The major studies 
favor breast milk, 
but new evidence 
shows that formula is 
a fine alternative. 

In fact, one recent 
study of siblings found 
no statistically 
difference— in areas 
like obesity, hyper- 
activity, and academic 
between breast-fed 
and bottle-fed 

Whole milk 

It s easier to say 
the kind of milk that 
may be worst for kids: 
nonfat. One recent 
study published 
in the BMJ tracked 
preschool-age kids 
for two years; those 
who drank skim were 
more likely to 
be heavier by age 4 
than the kids who 
drank whole, possibly 
because the fat keeps 
you fuller, staving off 
overeating later. 

Whole milk 

Similarly, research 
on early adolescents— 
up to age 14— has 
shown a link to 
reduced-fat or skim- 
milk consumption 
and weight gain. 
Again, the easiest 
way to describe the 
best milk for teens 
might be to describe 
the worst: reduced 
or skim milk. 



Whole milk 

One study of 
middle-aged men 
in Sweden found that 
those who regularly 
ate high-fat dairy 
products were less 
likely to become 
obese than men who 
ate high-fat dairy 
products less often 
or who didn’t eat 
them at all. Another 
recent meta-analysis 
found a lower risk of 
obesity for adults 
who ate lots of high- 
fat dairy products. 



Fermented milk 
produets like kefir 

W* A study that 
followed more than 
60,000 women for 
20 years, published 
in the BMJ, found 
that women who 
consumed fermented 
milk products were 
less likely to 
suffer bone fractures 
over the course of 
the study than 
women who did not 
consume fermented 
milk products. 

A Woman 
to Conceive 

Whole milk 

Here is one 
instance where it 
would seem that dairy 
is actually good for 
you. According to a 
big study published in 
2007 in the journal 
Human Reproduction, 
groups that had one 
serving of full-fat 
dairy (like whole milk) 
per day, compared 
with those who had 
very little, reduced 
their risk of fertility 
problems by more 
than 25 percent. 

A Retiree 

No more than one glass a day 

A study published in the BMJ last fall found an association between 
higher milk consumption and greater risk for fractures, especially hip 
fractures, and death, possibly owing to the high presence of inflammatory 
sugars in milk. In your AARP years, drink cow’s milk in moderation or 
switch to nondairy milk fortified with vitamin D and calcium, m.d. 


Whole Milk 

For: It may be high in 
(still controversial) 
saturated fat, but whole 
milk is also 40 percent 
unsaturated fat, which has 
been shown to improve 
blood-cholesterol levels 
(thereby reducing the 
risk of heart disease). 

And whole milk keeps you 
feeling full longer than 
milk with less fat, which 
some recent studies 
suggest may help keep off 
the pounds. The weight 
control may also be due to 
“bioactive substances” 
found in milk fat, which 
changes the way our 
metabolism functions, 
allowing us to burn that 
fat for energy instead 
of storing it in our bodies. 

Against: Whole milk 
has more calories— 150 
per eight-ounce glass, 
compared with the 90 
in skim. And if you’re 
still not convinced 
that saturated fat is okay, 
there’s that too. 



For: It’s fat-free. Even 
though some recent 
science shows saturated 
fat is not as harmful 
as we once thought it 
was, there’s no evidence 
yet to suggest that 
saturated fat is a health 
food. And if you’re a 
calorie counter, skim has 
fewer than regular milk. 

Against: It’s less tasty 
and less filling. “We know 
that fat-free milk is 
inherently less satiating,” 
says Dr. David Ludwig, 
a professor of nutrition 
at the Harvard School 
of Public Health. “You’re 
likely, after that glass 
of fat-free milk, to drink 
[or eat] something else, 
and that is typically 
processed carbohydrates.” 

78 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 

The Evidence 
For and Agamst the 

Whole, skim, almond, soy: the prevailing arguments. 



lA/orld Vou Cara - 
um Your Bottiet 




For: It’s among the least 
caloric of all the milk 
options, even lighter than 
skim. Like most nondairy 
milks, almond milk— a 
puree of almonds and 
water— does not naturally 
contain as much calcium, 
protein, or vitamins D and 
A as milk. But if it’s fortified 
with this stuff, it can have 
similar nutritional benefits 
to those of cow’s milk. 

Against: Almond 
milk often contains 
carrageenan, a food 
additive that’s derived 
from seaweed and is 
used as a thickener in 
foods. There’s some 
evidence that carrageenan 
can cause bloating and 
other gastrointestinal 
problems. Plus there’s the 
environmental issue: It 
takes 1.1 gallons of water to 
grow just one almond. 



For: Nutritionally 
speaking, soy is the closest 
comparable nondairy 
option to whole milk, 
with about eight grams 
of protein per cup. 

It’s also low glycemic: 

The carbohydrates in 
unsweetened soy milk 
are the kinds that are very 
slowly digested in the 
body, which helps control 
hunger. But unlike whole 
milk, it’s very low in fat. 

Against: Soy contains 
phytoestrogen, a plant- 
derived estrogenlike 
compound, which some 
studies have indicated 
promote the growth of 
breast-cancer cells, though 
other studies have disputed 
this. And there’s a chance 
that soy milk might 
cause more cavities than 
cow’s milk. Also, most 
soybeans grown in the U.S. 
are genetically modified, 
the long-terms effects 
of which are uncertain. 






And How to Decipher 
the Alterna-Milks 

Whatever your bodily wish— gut health, a little 
more omega-3— there’s a kefir or nondairy beverage 
jostling for your attention at the speeialty groeer’s. 




C7> m 





Low-input, low-impact 
is a process that 
involves heating milk 
to a higher temperature 
and for a shorter time. 
So while this isn’t raw, 
it’s the closest you can 
legally get to milk 
in its purest form. Ole’ 
Mother Hubbert, of 
Westtown, New York, 
was the first American 
dairy to purchase a 
LiLi machine, in 2013. 


The draw is the 
benefits of oats, like 
better heart health and 
blood-sugar levels. 
While a gallon at the 
store costs about the 
equivalent of three 
lattes, it’s also fairly 
easy to make at home 
ifyou’ve got oats, 
water, maple syrup, 
vanilla extraet, sea salt, 
and five minutes 
(plus soaking time) 
to spare. 

G I 


Exceptionally high in i 
nutrients, hemp milk ! 
eontains folie acid, | 
B-12, phosphorus, | 
magnesium, zine, and i 
omega-3 and -6 (in : 
addition to the usual ! 

eocktailofiron, | 
caleium, and vitamins | 
A and D). And, take it ■ 
or leave it. Dr. Oz has ! 
said it’s his favorite : 
alternative milk. ! 



Whole milk from 
grass-fed eows is 
Miehael Pollan’s choice 
(“Fat is not the evil 
nutrient we thought it 
was,” he notes), and his 
preferred brand is 
Organic Valley. “Most 
eows don’t get mueh 
grass anymore,” he 
says, “but it does a lot 
for the taste, and 
Organic Valley insists 
that its farmers graze.” 

G I 

Goat j 

The ubiquity of cow’s ‘ 
milk is an American j 
anomaly. Owing 
mainly to the fact that 
they’re cheaper to raise, ; 

goats produee the * 
most-eonsumed milk i 
worldwide; their milk \ 
is also usually easier to j 
digest than that of : 
cows because it has less : 
laetose. (Justbe 
warned: Goat’s milk J 
can cost a lot more 
than eow’s at your ■ 
nearest Whole Foods.) i 



Kefir, the kombucha 
of milk, is a tart drink 
made by fermenting 
milk with bacteria and 
yeast. It’s loaded with 
probiotics (three times 
more than yogurt, 
in fact), which 
are good for the gut. 

80 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 







Vitamrn D 

Oftf OlM^TTWiril) 

32 FLUID QZ|iaT|»E All 





Paleo gurus tend to 
forbid any kind of milk 
(including nut milks) 
except coconut— so 
long as it doesn’t have 
additives and 
preservatives— and 
prefer non- 
brands like Aroy-D 
from Thailand. This 
type also contains 
MCTs (medium-chain 
triglycerides) that are 
easily metabolized 
and burned for energy. 



Nutritionally similar to 
almond milk but 
a lot creamier and 
sweeter. Also, from an 
standpoint, you’d be 
saving a few almonds. 
To avoid the additives 
of store-bought brands, 
see for 
a recipe from Darken 
Scherer, owner of the 
forthcoming Bushwick 
cafe Supercrown. 


Dry Milk 

This became the hot 
baking ingredient 
when it was revealed to 
be part of the recipes 
for Milk Bar’s cookies. 
As for her preferred 
brand, says Christina 
Tosi, founder and 
owner of Milk Bar, 
perfect balance and 
depth of flavor, while 
the granules are still 
large and soluble 
enough to hold shape 
for our ‘Milk Crumbs.’” 

NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 81 




Peter Travers 

Sil)c ^'ctu JJork Slimes; 


Manohia Dargis 





Joe Morgenstern 




Richard Lawson 










Twyla Tharp Twister 

The legendary choreographer tells how it’s done. 

Photograph hy RuvenAfanador 


Makes a 
Star Valuable 
in 2015? 

Likability, for one thing, which is why Chris Pratt 
rose so high on our list. By Adam Sternbergh 

O NCE UPON A TIME, the Hollywood math was straight- 
forward; The most valuable stars were the ones who 
were (a) paid the most money because (b) they could 
reliably “open” a movie. This gave rise to the so-called 
$20 Million Club: actors like Robert Downey Jr., Sandra 
Bullock, and Denzel Washington (and before them, Tom Cruise and 
Julia Roberts). In 2015, however, the calculus is different and a lot more 
complex. Stars don’t open movies anymore— brands like Star Wars and 
Transformers do— and now studios are asking actors to accept some of 
their financial risk, eschewing huge up-front payments in favor of back- 
end bonuses if, and only if, their films are profitable. A star’s value is no 
longer something we can measure just in salaries— which might help 
explain why the actress who tops Vulture’s fourth annual ranking of 
Hollywood’s “Most Valuable Stars” is someone who recently spoke very 
publicly about being underpaid. 

These days, a star’s worth can be affected by many intangible factors. 

To determine our valuations, we combined simple metrics, such as 
domestic and international box office, with more ephemeral ones, such 
as Twitter mentions, Oscar nominations and wins. Metacritic scores, 
desirability to a panel of anonymous studio executives and gossip editors 
(who told us whom they’d hire first and whose news attracts the greatest 
number of eyeballs), and, perhaps most crucially, a star’s overall “likabil- 
ity.” Celebrity appeal can be both easy and obvious to detect— for example, 
that involuntary face you make when you find out so-and-so (Yay ! Right 
on ! ) or such-and-such (What! Why?) is starring in an upcoming film. But 
likability is also notoriously triclty to quantify; thankfully, we’re able to 
utilize data collected by E-Poll Market Research, a company that exists 
in part to measure precisely that elusive asset, asking thousands of regular 
folks to rate the appeal of celebrities. With all the information tallied, this 
year’s most valuable star may not surprise you. The case for Jennifer 
Lawrence— Oscar winner, perennial award nominee, fi^anchise anchor, 
and social-media darling— is fairly self-evident. 

This year’s most likable celebrity, though— well, that person might 
be a little more unexpected. Not because Chris Pratt is unlikable— to 
the contrary, it’s actually incredibly likely that you like him, given that 
he is, by our metric, the most likable actor in Hollywood. But it seems 
unlikely, or at least surprising, that Pratt— a guy who’s recently starred 
in huge blockbuster movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and 
Jurassie World, yet is still unfamous enough that Billy Eichner can 






we collected data on each 
of these stars— including 
their domestic and 
overseas box office for the 
past five years, number of 
Oscar nominations and 
wins. Metacritic scores, 
Twitter mentions over the 
past year, rankings from 
major studio executives 
and gossip editors (who 
were asked to rate each 
star’s appeal on a scale 
of one to ten), and 
likability data from E-Poll 
Market Research— and 
asked FiveThirtyEight 
statistician Harry Enten 
to plug the numbers into 
his special formula to 
determine their rank. For 
further explanation 
of our methodology, 


1 . Jennifer 

(change from last year: 0) 

2 . Robert 
Downey Jr. (0) 




12 . Tom Hanks 

13 . Matt Damon 

21 . Charlize 

22 . Denzel 

Theron (+29) 

Washington (-17) 

28 . Christian 29 . Mark 

Bale (- 10 ) Wahlberg (- 6 ) 

37 . Natalie 38 . Jennifer 

Portman (+4) Aniston (-5) 

59. Justin 
Timberlake (+1?) 

60 . Keira 
Knightley (+25) 

61 . Joseph Gordon- 
Levitt (+5) 

62 . Kristen 





q ; 




90 . Eddie 
Redmayne (*) 

The Studios’ Favorites 

1 . Jennifer Lawrence 
2 . Bradley Cooper 
3 . Leonardo DiCaprio 

4 . Chris Pratt 

5 . Tom Cruise 

6 . Channing Tatum 

7 . Scarlett Johansson 

8 . Tom Hanks 

9 . Kevin Hart 
10. Amy Schumer 

82 . Mark 
Rutfalo (+ 8 ) 

91 . Anna 
Kendrick (+7) 

84 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 

Stars Who 
Rose the Most 

1. Chris Pratt (57 places) 
2. Ryan Reynolds (45) 

3. Kristen Wiig (39) 

4. Chris Evans (32) 

5. Ryan Gosling (31) 

6 . Charlize Theron (29) 

7 . Jake Gyllenhaal (26) 

8 . Keira Knightley (25) 

9. Zaeh Galifianalds (24) 

10. Dwayne Johnson (24) 


30. Kevin Hart 

51 Tjllcp 

Gyllenhaal (+ 26 ) 

34. Shailene 
Woodley (- 10 ) 

18. Liam 
Neeson (+ 4 ) 

1 9. Ben Affleek 

20. Chris 
Hems worth (+ 1 ) 

Most Discussed on 
Social Media 

1 . Angelina Jolie 

2. Emma Watson 
3. Zae Efron 

4. Jennifer Lawrenee 

5. Justin Timberlake 
6 . Johnny Depp 

7. Kevin Hart 
8 . Leonardo DiCaprio 

9. Will Smith 

10. Brad Pitt 

43 . Anne 44. Michael 

Hathaway (- 15 ) Fassbender (+ 15 ) 


52. Jonah Hill 
(- 18 ) 

Most Critically 

1 . Ben Affleek 

2. Joaquin Phoenix 

3. Amy Sehumer 

4. Miehael Fassbender 

53. Jerenw 
Renner (- 6 ) 

54. James 
Franco (+ 6 ) 

55. Jamie Foxx 
(- 13 ) 

56. Zoe Saldana 



57. Helen 
Mirren (*) 

58. Tom Hardy 

63. Daniel 
Radclitfe (- 31 ) 

5. Andrew Garfield 

6. Leonardo DiCaprio 

7. Tom Hardy 

8. Jake Gyllenhaal 

9. Jennifer Lawrenee 

10. Daniel Day-Lewis 



64. Emma 
Watson (- 1 ) 

65. Amy Adams 
(- 45 ) 


66. Mila Kunis 
(- 29 ) 

67. Daniel Day- 
Lewis (- 9 ) 

68. Andrew 
Garfield (- 28 ) 

^ * 

69. Charlie 
Hunnam (*) 


Most Likable 

74. Jason Seed 

1 r+5; 

76. Robert 

De Niro (- 33 ) 

77. Ben Stiller 
(- 25 ) 

78. Bill Murray 


79. Russell 
Crowe (- 28 ) 

1 . Chris Pratt 

2. Sandra Bulloek 

3. Tom Hanks 

4. Denzel Washington 

80. Zac Efron 
(+ 4 ) 

83. Paul Rudd 

(+ 14 ) 


84. Liam 
Hemsworth (*) 



85. Clint 
Eastwood (+ 7 ) 

86. Jessica 
Chastain (- 9 ) 


87. Joaquin 
Phoenix (^+2^ 

88. Margot 
Robbie (*) 

5. Hugh Jaekman 

6. Will Smith 

7. Amy Adams 

8. Liam Neeson 

9. Idris Elba 

10. Robert De Niro 


89. Kate 
Winslet (- 36 ) 



92. Steve Carell 

93. Miles Teller 

94. Naomi 

96. Nicole 

97. Idris Elba 


(- 37 ) 


Watts (+ 5 ) 

Garner (*) 

Kidman (*) 

^ Blue stars indicate new to this years list. 


drag him around on Billy on the Street 
asking New Yorkers to identify him and at 
least some of them will say he’s that guy 
“from VHl,” “Chris Evans,” or “Liam?”— 
should suddenly be more likable than 
Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, or Meryl 
Streep. And yet, according to our data, Pratt 
has the highest “appeal” rating of anyone on 
the list, with 86 percent of respondents 
expressing a favorable view of him. 

We can likely lay part of the credit for his 
outsize likability at the webbed feet of Eagle 
the penguin. Because of all the awesome, 
adorable, and/or hilarious things you can 
see Chris Pratt doing on the internet— GQ 
ran an article listing 41 separate reasons 
that “Everything (Chris Pratt Does) Is Awe- 
some”— perhaps the most likable thing is a 
video of Pratt, along with his famous and 
well-liked wife, Anna Paris, and their by all 
evidence extremely adorable 3-year-old 
son. Jack, announcing, in a video posted to 
YouTube, that they’d been asked to name a 
new baby penguin born at the Seattle zoo 
and decided on “Eagle.” 

Think about that: What in the world 
could possibly be more likable than a video 
in which an adorable 3 -year-old child 
announces the name of a baby penguin? I’ll 
tell you what: a video in which an adorable 
3-year-old child announces the name of a 
baby penguin while seated next to Chris 
Pratt. You’re probably jamming your thumb 
against the page on which you’re reading 
this right now, in a manic, reflexive effort to 
“like” it. Which, if you’re Pratt, is a veiy valu- 
able reaction indeed. 

AN ASTUTE COLLEAGUE of mine, whcn 
considering Pratt, describes him as a 
“value-added star.” Which is to say: Yes, 
he’s coming off a remarkable run of super- 
successful movies, yet it’s hard to argue 
that any of these films were huge hits 
solely, or even mostly, because of Pratt. 
We’re talking about a totally different kind 
of star power— or “value”— than what Tom 
Cruise evinced in the 1980s, when entire 
films were basically marketed as “Tom 
Cruise as a bartender” iCoektaiT) and “Tom 
Cruise in a race car” {Days of Thunder). 
While Pratt certainly did a bang-up job in 
The Lego Movie, that film would likely have 
been a big hit even if Seth Rogen (appeal: 
59 percent) had lent his voice to the lead 
character. Jurassie World was huge, but it 
arrived in theaters like a rampaging 
franchise-o-saurus, with Chris Pratt riding 
on a tiny saddle on its back. 

None of which is to diminish Pratt or the 
remarkable position to which he’s ascended. 
You could make the argument that, in an 
age of social media and carpet-bomb-style 
media campaigns, when the membrane 

between us and the stars of our favorite 
movies is as thin as an iPhone screen, “lik- 
ability” is a more valuable commodity than 
ever. In E-Score polls, the two phrases most 
associated with Pratt are “approachable” 
and “down to earth.” It seems safe to say that 
no one would have described, say, Hum- 
phrey Bogart with either of those terms 75 
years ago. Back then, movie stars depended 
on the illusion of mystique: the impression 
that they occupied a slightly more rarefied 
realm than our own. It’s hard to imagine 
even Jimmy Stewart ever being described 
primarily as “approachable.” Then again, he 
never had an Instagram account. 

Pratt has one, of course, @prattpratt- 
pratt, where he posts things like his school 


photo from when he was 13 years old. 
(Adorable!) He also has a Twitter account 
with a bio that reads, “Laughing with you, 
not at you.” (Likable!) And unlike other 
celebrities, he does not use Twitter to rail 
against NSA overreach or endorse Trump 
for president. Instead, he retweets photos 
of little kids dressed up like him in Jurassie 
World for Halloween. (Down to earth!) 
Recently, he hung out with real-life BFFs 
Amy Schumer, Jennifer Lawrence, and 
Aziz Ansari— basically, a Mount Rushmore 
of internet likability— then posted all 
about it online. This is the key to Pratt’s 
likability, which is, in turn, the key to his 
appeal: He’d be your coolest friend if you 
actually knew him, which you almost feel 
like you do. His storied transformation 
from doughy Everyman to sculpted super- 
hero is relatable, or at least aspirational, to 
doughy Everypeople everywhere. “The two 

biggest things for him,” says E-Poll CEO 
Gerry Philpott, “are that guys see him as 
someone they’d like to have a beer with, 
and women see him as that guy who’s 
attractive and a little bit dangerous but still 
a good catch. It’s really rare to have people 
whose appeal crosses over like that.” 

BUT WHY DO WE CARE SO much if a star 
seems like someone we’d want to hang out 
with? It’s likely owed, in part, to the fact that 
we spend so much more time with them 
now. No longer is it enough to simply hold 
our gaze for the two-hour duration of a 
movie. There are endless trailers, and leaked 
footage, and Comic Con panels, and talk- 
show appearances, in the months running 
up to a film’s release. All of which amounts 
to dozens of hours’ worth of free advertis- 
ing— so you better have a likable pitch- 
person to front your campaign. 

Another off-remarked aspect of the rise 
of the franchise blockbusters is that they 
seem to be actorproof No longer is the for- 
mula “Get me Tom Cruise as a bartender”; 
now it’s “Get me whoever can plausibly and 
pleasingly fill out Thor’s costume.” Yet the 
right actor— likable, relatable— is more cru- 
cial than ever, as our tour guide/surrogate/ 
stand-in through a three-hour onslaught of 
$300 million CGI explosions. Guardians of 
the Galaxy may be the most potent recent 
argument for this: A tentpole movie built 
around an unfamiliar comic property, it 
benefited mightily from Pratt’s cockeyed 
smile, beckoning us inside the tent. 

“Younger stars tend to have lower 
awareness scores,” says Philpott. “But peo- 
ple who know who Chris Pratt is tend to 
like him a lot.” So a newly minted star like 
Pratt offers better value in many ways than 
a marquee name. The longer you’ve been 
in the public eye, the more time you’ve had 
to compromise, or complicate, our adora- 
tion. Tom Cruise’s awareness score is 79 
percent, but his current appeal rating is 
only 41 percent. One of the two words 
most commonly associated with him is 
“creepy.” (The other is “handsome.”) 

It’s true that movie stars are no longer 
franchises, not in the way they once were; 
franchises are the new stars. But these 
franchises still need stars in the way that 
battleships still need captains. And if that 
captain is someone just likable enough, 
just accessible enough, just relatable 
enough that we can almost imagine our- 
selves in his or her place, all the better. 
(After all, who among us isn’t just a few 
sit-ups away from becoming Chris Pratt? 
Well, all of us, actually.) To be valuable in 
2015, keep that Instagram account 
updated and that Twitter timeline upbeat. 
And name a baby penguin if you can. ■ 

86 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 









TELEtHAIfE.COM 212-239-6200 (DBROADWAY THEATRE, 1681 BROADWAY • f/rfrf/erMws/co/.fom 





“The first musical 
lesson I had was the keyboard,” 
Tharp says, “so the feel of music 
was programmed into my 
hands. I also played viola, 
which means the rhythm of the 
bow, the pull of the muscles of 
the back, is something I feel. 
Movement produces all the 
other art forms.” 

Photogj'aph hy RuvenAfanador 

Twyla in 

A grande dame of 
dance delivers 50 years’ 
worth of insight. 

TWYLA THARP DANCE is at the David H. Koch 
Theater November 17 through 22. 

is overdue for a breather: She’s created 
more than 160 works for classical ballet 
companies; her own modern troupe, 
Twyla Tharp Dance; and Broadway. But 
for her group’s golden anniversary, the 
dance icon is touring with two major 
new pieces: Preludes and Fugues, set to 
pieces from Bach, and Yowzie, propelled 
by a jazz score. Here, Tharp explains how 
her artistic past has informed her still 
very active present, rebecca milzoff 

88 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 

Growing up in 
Indiana, Tharp worked, and 
learned, at her parents’ 
drive-in movie theater. 
“[The actors’] movements 
were designed for a wdde 
public base, and I’ve always 
understood that to be 
a possibility. What I do 
should communicate 
something to everybody. 
I’m the old-fashioned 




“My first piece 
had very little 
movement; that’s all 
I believed I knew. 
I’ve changed, but it’s 
not made it any 
easier, because 
the more tools 
you have, the 
more you want to 
use them.” 


To help achieve 
that inclusiveness, 
Tharp’s movements are 
often grounded in 
pedestrian gestures. 
“Folks can connect 
with simple actions: 
running, walking, 
skipping, hopping. 
They know what that 
feels like.” 


Despite her ideas 
about what audiences 
respond to, Tharp 
dismisses any notion of 
having a distinct style. 
“If I knew what that was, 
I would avoid it,” she 
says. Instead, her 
approach is “about 
reconfirmation and 
reanalyzing whether 
something is 
truly necessary” 
in a given dance. 


Some Reviews Some Openii^ lines Some 

I was made in a small square dish, 
on a plate, the vestiges of sleep still 
with a spoonful of Alpo or so me ot her 
patented vitaminized kibble^ 4 s That 
1 always woke up: pressed against 
and her turned away. She holding 
in her breasts, wrapped around each 
sigs At first they watched the rain 

r — ^ ■" — 

watched it come inside the tent, 
curtains sudden sweeping. 7^1 won’t 
well, understood, perhaps— so unused 
of our meeting 1 thought: this is a 
One. He adored New York City. He 



: words are “made,” 

! for an epic Russian 

much from 

! 4. 

childlike and 

Katherine Carlyle 

. because it’s not 

\ novel, but it wins 

this rather lovely 

1 The Mare 

. truly gorgeous. i 

The narrator is an 

“born” or “conceived,” 

: by turning sleep into 

sentence, but 

: This is Gaitskill 

; 5* 

IVF baby, and this is 

; and “square,” 

1 something with 

it’s nice to be 

! doing the voice 

The Clasp 

a good example of 

because squares 

: vestiges that cling. 

reminded that 

1 of an 11-year-old 

Built on 

an attack sentence that 

are unnatural. 

i 3. 

a patent-holder 

1 girl and entirely 


immediately puts a 

' Z. 

i This Old Man: 

makes a buck 

1 succeeding in 

' repetition. 

novel’s preoccupations 

The Big Green Tent 

; All in Pieces 

whenever a dog 

: rendering the voice 

this sentence 

on the table. The key 

' A modest beginning 

: We don’t learn very 

takes a bite. 

i both convincingly 

- is much sturdier 

90 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


Tamara sat before a runny omelet 
clinging to her. 3^ Dogs start the day 
canned meat on top of a heap of 
day I woke up from a dream the way 
my moms back, my face against her 
Dante and he holding her, his head 
other like they’re falling down a hole, 
from inside the tent and then they 
A thick drizzle from the sky, like a 
hide it: I’m so unused to being— 
to it, that in the very first minutes 
ioke, a masquerade trick. Chapter 

^ Goldsmith 

idolized it all out of proportion. 

; than the tent 

sudden and 

• first words on 

tricks were 

; who does uncreative 

for Paris in 

i within it. 

sweeping. Still, 

i paper to his wife 

always being 

\ writing— massive 

i a collage of other 


an admirable 

: absolutely endearing. 

played on him. 

blocks of found text 

' people’s words. 

Fates and Furies 


: Then there’s the 


: placed in massive 

; I can’t decide 

: One thinks, usually. 

of the gerund. 

; retrospective pleasure 

New York: 

quotes— and his new 

' whether kicking it off 

. of drizzle being the 

■ ‘ 7 - 

\ oflearning that the 

Capital o£ the 

f book is billed as his 

with the opening 

; opposite of thick, and 

^ Letters to Vera 

' one who would 

20th Century 

^ version of Benjamin’s 

' lines oi Manhattan 

; of being lazy and 

Call me sentimental. 

; become the master 

Goldsmith is 

' Arcades Project, with 

; is a crowd-pleaser or 

gentle rather than 

but I find Nabokov’s 

' trickster thought 

a conceptual poet 

I New York standing in 

■ all too familiar. 

NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 I NEW YORK 91 


Looks Like Mr. Show. 
Sounds Like Mr. Show. 
Isn’t It Mr. Show! 

w/ BOB & DAVIT) premieres November 13 on Netjlioc. 

BOB ODENKiRK and David Cross’s sketch show Mr. Show With Boh and David, which ran 
on HBO from 1995 to 1998, quickly became a cult favorite, inspiring a generation of alterna- 
tive comedians. Now, 17 years later, Odenkirk and Cross, who both went on to other, bigger 
TV Breaking Bad dcudi Arrested Development, respectively— have returned to sketch 

in the new Netflix series W/ Boh & David. Much of the fundamentals are the same as 
before— Odenkirk, Cross, and a writing staff of Mr. Show veterans created a surreal half-hour 
that mixes live and taped pieces. But, as the stars explain, there are a handful of reasons why 
the new Boh & David is different from the old Boh and David. Sort of. jesse david fox 

The TV World Has 

odenkirk: The last episode 
\o^W/ Bob & David~\ ends with 
an eight-minute sketch that’s 
kind of quiet. We’re not trying 
too hard to make an episode that 
has this forward movement. We 
don’t feel like we have to do that 
because of where we are, which 
is Netflix. The way you watch TV 
on Netflix— you don’t have this 
sense of impending commercial 
break. You don’t have this 
[learned] sense of this pacing 
that was set by commercial TV, 
which is still informing shows, 
even on HBO. We’re following 
the idea wherever it feels like 
going. Even Mr. Show—^e 
commercial breaks were a 
natural thing in our heads. We 
don’t have to do that anymore. 

2 . 

They’ve Changed, Too 

odenkirk: We’ve given up, 
obviously. In a lot of wonderful 
ways. CROSS : I became a priest 
of the high faith, which had 

height restrictions on it. 
odenkirk: I’m OT-5 now, did 
you hear? cross : Oh, that’s 
fantastic. But outside of 
becoming deeply religious, 

I certainly know I’ve watched 
Bob mellow considerably. He has 
a family now. odenkirk: As pot 
became more and more legal, 

I became more and more mellow. 
You can figure that math out. 

3 . 

Audiences Are 
Smarter Now 

odenkirk: I don’t think we 
need to hand-hold as much. In 
fact. I’m sure of it. One of the 
reasons we are happy to have 
mostly done away with the 
[between-sketch] “linking” 
passages that we had in the old 
show is because people see a lot 
of comedy and they don’t have 
an issue with understanding 
the basic premises of a sketch. 

4 . 

The Writing Process Is 
Easier These Days 

odenkirk: Years ago, when we 

wanted to work together, 
we’d have to be in the same room 
and that, just right there, was a 
real stumbling block for me. 
David ... I don’t want to say 
stinks. His body secretes oils. 
CROSS : I drink a lot of tinctures 
and oils. You see, my wife is from 
Southern California, odenkirk: 
Now we both don’t have to be in 
the same room to write. It really 
works for me in the modern 
world with blogs, tweets, 
telegrams, and you get to use 
that good telegraph-speak: 
VERY FUNNY. cross: That’s 
how Bob’s always talked. If you 
have dinner with him and go, 
“Hey, man, how was your day?” 
he’d say “DAY GOOD— 


5 . 

About That Title 

cross: For legal purposes, 
we don’t own the right to the 
name Mr. Show. But Mr. Show 
was always the abbreviated 
version; it was called Mr. Show 
With Bob and David, so we 
thought it would be clever and 
still feel different to call it 
W/ Bob & David. We first 
wanted to call it Entourage but 
ran into trouble with that. 

25 Great Songs 
About Phone 
Drama That 

or Drake’s 

“Beechwood 4-5789,” 

the Marvelettes (1962) 

(Soulsville, U.S.A.),” 

Wilson Pickett (1966) 

“Party Line,” 

the Kinks (1966) 

“Telephone Line,” 

Electric Light 
Orchestra (1976) 

“Hanging on the 

the Nerves (1976) 

“Love on 
the Telephone,” 

Foreigrier (1979) 

“Call Me,” 

Blondie (1980) 


Tommy Tutone (1981) 

“Mr. Telephone Man,” 

New Edition (1984) 

“I Just Called to Say 
I Love You,” 

Stevie Wonder (1984) 

“Answering Machine,” 

the Replacements 

“Lost Your Number,” 

Nu Shooz (19S6) 

“Talk Dirty to Me,” 

Poison (1986) 

“The Telephone Call,” 

Kraftwerk (1987) 

“Star 69,” 

R.E.M. (1994) 

“The Call,” 

Backstreet Boys 
( 2000 ) 

“Hung Up,” 

Madonna (2005) 


Count a Sinden Feat. 
Kid Sister (2008) 

“Video Phone,” 

BeyonceFeat. Lady 
Gaga (2009) 

“Text Me,” 

R. Kelly (2009) 


Lady Gaga Feat. 
Beyonce (2009) 

“Call Me Maybe,” 

Carly Rae Jepsen 
( 2011 ) 


Maroon 5 Feat. Wiz 
Khalifa (2012) 

“Car Phone!” 

Julian Smith (2014) 

“Text Me in the 

Neon Trees (2014) 

92 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


the Whitney 


Charles Ray’s huck and jim 
Art Institute ofChieago. 

For all its promise, the new Whitney 
will he marked hy an original sin. 
After holdly commissioning Charles 
Ray to design a sculptnre to be 
permanently installed ontside the 
mnsenm, the Whitney blinked and 
declined Ray’s proposal. But the 
work, now exhibited in Chicago, is a 
masterpiece; it embodies so much of 
America that had it been placed in 
front of this museum, at this time, it 
might have been a second Statue of 
Liberty. H The figures loom at about 
one-and-a-half times natural size, 
and as realistic as they are, they feel 
abstracted. Yet they’re locked in orbit. 
A man towers over us at about nine 
feet, not a colossus but something of 
an augur, peering into a distance over 
our heads. He extends a hand over 
the bending figure of the boy who is 
looking into his own open hand; he’s 
lost, too, absorbed in something. 

11 1 can’t recall a contemporaiy artist 
better electrifying a work of art with 
its title. The sculpture is called Huck 
and Jim. But this is not Huck’s story 
any longer. It is Jim’s. Or whatever 
version of Jim’s story could be 
tmly authored by a white sculptor. 
Jim is the lodestar of this work. 

Huck is looking for adventure, but 
Jim is mnning for his life. As James 
Baldwin wrote, “It is the innocence 
which constitutes the crime.” And 
I haven’t even mentioned the 
sexual tension of the work, which 
depicts both of them nude. 

NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 93 





David Edelstein on The Danish Girl and Carol ... 

Lindsay Zoladz on Grimes’s Art Angels ... Jesse Green on A View From the Bridge. 


Gilded Lili 

Tom Hoopers The Danish Girl 
conventionalizes the 
story of a transgender pioneer. 

THE KINDEST THING to be Said about the high-toned transgender weeper The 
Danish Girl is that by the time it ends it can serve as a decent liberal corrective to 
a century of reactionary demon-possession movies. Eddie Redmayne plays Einar Wegener, 
an acclaimed Copenhagen painter circa 1926 who discovers— after slipping into stockings 
and a dress to pose for his painter wdfe, Gerda (Alicia Vikander), when her model is late— 
that there’s someone else inside him and her name is Lili. In the standard horror formula- 
tion, Dili’s threat to swallow Einar from the inside would need to be thwarted by the Church 
and/or the power of love, or else the LiliMonster would triumph and return in seven 
sequels. In The Danish Girl, Gerda is certainly devastated by the loss of her husband and. 

at her most vulnerable, begs Lili for access 
to Einar. But it is finally Einar who needs to 
be exorcised, surgically, on the grounds that 
God (or Whomever) cocked the whole gen- 
der thing up. 

Although The Danish Girl is based on a 
novel by David Ebershoff, Lili Elbe (she 
took her last name from the river) did exist, 
and her story is so astonishing that I can’t 
believe I’d never heard it until now. It’s too 
bad that my introduction had to come 
through the lens of director Tom Hooper, 
an Oscar-certified genius at teasing out the 
banal from the exceptional. Because both 
Einar and Gerda are painters. Hooper has 
opted for a painterly, chiaroscuro style, the 
backdrops dappled, the faces kissed by 
white light from on high. What Hooper 
can’t manage is to put us inside his charac- 
ters’ heads— where we should be in a story 
that makes every surface suspect. 

The screenwriter, Lucinda Coxon, 
approaches Dili’s life from a gender- 
psychology perspective, setting up the idea 
that, as Gerda tells a squirmy male subject, 
“it is difficult for a man to submit to a wom- 
an’s gaze.” Once in a dress and wdg, Dili 
slowly begins to enjoy surrendering to the 
male gaze— to the point where she has no 
further desire to paint, her principal work 
being the realization of her true self. Gerda 
undergoes a change as well. An unsuccess- 
ful portrait painter, she begins to find in Dili 
a tantalizing subject— a sort of Impression- 
ist’s Mona Lisa. 

But here’s where Hooper and Coxon con- 
ventionalize the story. There’s nothing in 
Vikander’s Gerda to suggest why Dili liber- 
ates her as an artist, especially when she’s 
weeping so hard over Einar ’s departure. 
The novel’s Gerda— reconceived by Ebers- 
hoff to be less conventionally feminine and 
called Greta— begs Einar to bring back Dili, 
not vice versa, and there’s a wonderful twist: 
The petite, finely turned Dili proves more 
attractive to men than the taller Greta. 
Hooper, whose sensibilities seem Victorian, 
keeps Dili’s sexual longing for men dis- 
creetly offscreen, and a potentially romantic 

94 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 

relationship with a magnetized suitor (Mat- 
thias Schoenaerts) comes off as a throw- 
away. The script is full of signposts, but 
Hooper shows no interest in testing the idea 
that Einar and Lili are mutually exclusive— 
that one must die for the other to live— or 
having a little fun with the notion that if 
clothes maketh the man, they induceth the 
woman. He does best with the more obvi- 
ous scenes, with the parade of doctors who 
want to irradiate, drill holes in, or lock up 
their riven patient. 

Vikander has gotten some extraordinaiy 
reviews, probably because she has to cany 
all her scenes with Redmayne to give them 
a dramatic motor. It’s not entirely the actor’s 
fault. The Lili of The Danish Girl is passive, 
quivery-moist, and inward-gazing, as if 
womanliness for her meant having no 
agency. There’s no sign in this fragile mar^ 
of the Lili Elbe who returned to Denmark 
after a sojourn in Paris and surgeiy in Dres- 
den and gave interviews to any journalist 
who’d listen, and who used her little time left 
to collaborate on a memoir about her exter- 
nal transformation. A master of spiritual 
kitsch. Hooper is less drawn to her transfor- 
mation than to her transfiguration. 

IN THE FIRST SCENE of Todd Hayucs’s 
romantic lesbian drama Carol, there’s a 
moment that seemed so floridly sentimen- 
tal I couldn’t keep myself from laughing out 
loud. (See Frank Rich’s story, page 22.) The 
scene actually comes late in the story (most 
of the film is a flashback) and shows the two 
main characters in a fancy restaurant. The 
older, wealthy Carol Aird (Cate 
Blanchett) stares urgently into the 
eyes of Therese Belivet (Rooney 
Mara), who gazes back sorrow- 
fully. Interrupted by a male 
acquaintance of Therese, Carol 
rises to leave and, as she does, lets 
her hand linger a moment on Therese’s 
arm. What made me laugh was how Rooney 
looked down at the hand on her arm in a 
way that seemed slower than a Kabuki 
actor, her eyes widening as if her soul were 
struggling to explode from her head. The 
longing . . . the longing . . . Probably the high- 
est compliment I can pay Carol is that an 
hour and a half later, when we return to that 
scene and the moment is repeated, I didn’t 
laugh. The entire movie has unfolded in a 
trance, so that Carol’s touch and Therese’s 
reaction seem genuinely momentous. 

Carol is based on a novel called The 
Priee ofSalthy Patricia Highsmith, who— 
being well closeted— first published it 
under a pseudonym. The book isn’t as 
flowing or earnest as the film, but it’s sur- 
prisingly upbeat, written while she was 
working in the toy section of a department 
store, where she caught sight of a fur- 

coated middle-aged woman who fired her 
imagination— well before the homophobic 
world helped to turn Highsmith into a 
cynical old meanie. Haynes and the play- 
wright Phyllis Nagy have conceived Carol 
in the same ultradeliberate, sumptuous 
Technicolor style of Haynes’s Far From 
Heaven, which was a sort of living museum 
exhibit to the romantic melodramas of 
Douglas Sirk. If anything, the emotions of 
Carol are more compressed, distilled into 
small gestures, furtive looks, the play of 
light over fabrics, the cooling and heating 
frequencies of color. 

Haynes has calibrated the film so pre- 
cisely to Blanchett’s talents that he couldn’t 
have rendered her better with animation. 
The key to her performance is its play of 
heavy and quick, regal and furtive. The 
heaviness is in her features— in her full 
lips; spectacularly high, rounded cheek- 
bones; and her languid, feline eyes, all of 
which make her look as expensive as her 
furs, cars, and New Jersey mansion. 
Against this: the tiny, involuntary glances 
toward Therese— a snap of longing and 
snap back to composure, sometimes so fast 
you’d need to slow it down to see it frilly, 
like the move of a Venus fly trap. It’s very 
artificial, but Blanchett is an artificial 
actress, brilliantly calibrating her effects. 
Both she and Haynes make me think of 
soulful animatronics. 

Mara goes the opposite way, transforming 
herself into a gamine and making herself so 
receptive to Blanchett that the aforesaid 
snaps hit her like blows. She’s so mesmer- 
ized that she could be doing a 
mirror-exercise; her eyes move in 
sync with Blanchett’s gestures. Her 
Therese is a dazed bystander to the 
battles between Carol and her 
seething, abandoned husband 
(Kyle Chandler), who’s ready to 
bring out the big guns to keep Carol from 
their child; and she can only stare, open- 
mouthed in confusion, at Carol’s sympa- 
thetic ex-lover (Sarah Paulson, likably 
down-to-earth amid the histrionics). This 
might be the Love That Dares Not Speak Its 
Name, but it plays a mean charades. 

I know many people who marvel at 
Haynes’s deconstructionist tendencies and 
many others who think that he deconstructs 
his stories because he doesn’t know how to 
construct them. Ogling those overripe colors 
while listening to Carter Burwell’s ersatz- 
Philip Glass stylings, I found myself agree- 
ing completely with the naysayers while still 
giving a slight edge to Haynes’s adherents. 
He is a sensuous pointy-head. Groping 
through the accumulated bric-a-brac of cin- 
ema’s signs and signifiers toward the light, 
he proves in Carol that deconstruction can 
be gloriously romantic. ■ 


Follow-up Punch 

Grimes’s terrific 
second album is 
looking for a fight. 

AT THE END OF 2012, the year that 
her hypnotic breakout album. 
Visions, was released, the Canadian electro- 
pop musician Grimes, whose real name is 
Claire Boucher, gave an interview to the 
music critic Jessica Hopper. “I was inter- 
ested in the Japanese archetype of a female 
protagonist who is veiy small and veiy cute 
and veiy physically powerful,” Boucher said, 
explaining the aesthetic that inspired her 
eminently GiF-able videos for “Genesis” and 
“Oblivion.” “You don’t see that archetype in 
America.” Earlier in the interview, Boucher 
had been asked to comment on the most 
controversial item for sale at her merch 
table, “pussy rings”— self-designed sets of 
plastic brass knuckles shaped like vaginas. 
She was dismayed about the supposed con- 
troversy and the fact that people still found 
this sort of imagery taboo, but she also 
seemed amused by unapologetic feminini- 
ty’s surprisingly aggressive power to offend. 
“If you punched someone with the ring on,” 
she said mischievously, “it would leave a 
clitoris-shaped imprint on their face.” 

Grimes’s wonderful new album. Art 
Angels, is nothing short of a pussy-ring 
punch to the jaw. It is at once her most sug- 
aiy record and her most menacing— a piece 
of Bazooka Joe paired not with a comic strip 
but with a switchblade. Its most brazen 
embraces of pure pop pleasure and, heaven 
forbid, “girliness” are somehow its most defi- 
ant moments. I can only describe standout 
stadium bangers “Kill V. Maim” and “Venus 
Fly” (which features Janelle Monae) as 
“bizarro-world feminist Jock Jams” and 
have already updated their iTunes genre 
tags accordingly. Art Angels s moments of 
lush softness, though, feel just as bold 
because they put Boucher’s voice and vision 
into crisper-than-ever focus. On Visions, she 
had a tendency to hide behind gauzy pro- 
duction and unintelligible lyrics, but with 
Art Angels, it seems she’s ready for confron- 
tation and provocation. When I saw her play 
a party at the Guggenheim in the beginning 
of November, the small changes she’d made 
to her old live arrangements were telling of 





NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 95 


Larry Bull 
Andrea Cirie 
Todd Gearhart 

her evolution. Notes that she’d once sung in 
a lilting, stratospheric falsetto had trans- 
formed into piercing and sometimes even 
guttural screams. 

Boucher is a veteran of Montreal’s under- 
ground scene (her first release was 2010’s 
murky-pretty lo-fi release Geidi Primes, 
named after a planet in Dune), but she’s just 
as much a child of the Internet— which is to 
say a resident of eveiywhere. Grimes’s music 
has become such perennial think-piece fod- 
der because of how conveniently it embodies 
nearly all the major changes that 
the digital age has wrought on the 
industry; Her avant-pop sound 
captures the dissolving boundaries 
between the underground and the 
mainstream; her genre and cul- 
tural omnivorousness speak to her 
generation’s ability to access nearly every 
piece of music ever recorded anywhere in 
the world; her storied creation myth of 
recording Visions alone on GarageBand 
affirms the idea that in 2015, any awkward 
kid with a laptop can become the next hot 
producer or pop star. But in the nearly four 
years since Visions, Boucher has come to 
find that there’s a dark side to being a post- 
Internet concern. Everything you do hap- 
pens in a fishbowl— including recording the 
much-anticipated follow-up to an album 
you made in comfortable anonymity. Fans 
who clocked her every move via her fre- 
quently updated Tumblr seemed to be 
watching Boucher flit to and fro, from coun- 
tiy to city, seeking inspiration that seemed 
to be evading her no matter where she went. 
She secluded herself in the woods of Squa- 
mish, British Columbia; she signed with 
Jay Z’s management company Roc Nation 
and moved to LA. And yet, still, there was 
no record. As the months and then years 
ticked by, there seemed to be more and more 
reason to think Visions was a happy acci- 
dent, a visitation from some sort of muse 
that might never come her way again. 

Art Angels is, without a doubt, a record 
with something to prove— that’s the reason 
it took so long to make. Though she could 
have worked with any number of producers 
and gotten just about anybody to play on it, 
Boucher produced it all herself and played 
eveiy instrument on the damn thing (which 
meant that she spent some of those three 
and a half years teaching herself how to play 
the ukulele and violin). Depending on how 
you look at it, this painstaking indepen- 
dence is either admirable or excessive, but 
it’s hard to deny that one of the great joys of 
Art Angels is hearing Boucher (who self- 
recorded the scrappy Geidi Primes) come 
into her own as a producer. She blends her 
disparate influences seamlessly. The gor- 
geous “Easily” asks us to imagine a world in 
which Skrillex had produced Donna Lewis’s 

“I Love You Always Forever” (which is ajam, 
never forget); the ecstatic ‘Artangels” totally 
nails the bubblegum-new-jack-swing vibe 
that Jack Antonoft* swung for and missed on 
Taylor Swift’s slightly too studied “I Wish 
You Would.” Working as her own producer 
has given the naturally shy Boucher a kind 
of split personality that she says has been 
liberating for her as a performer, allowing 
her “Grimes” persona to become something 
larger than life and superhuman. “It’s like 
I’m Phil Spector,” she said in a recent inter- 
view. “And then there’s Grimes, 
which is the girl group.” 

^Vit Art Angels takes more con- 
temporary cues than, say, the 
alien-Shirelles vibe of a Visions 
song like “Oblivion.” There’s a Max 
Martin-like sheen to the great first 
single, “Flesh Without Blood,” which sounds 
like “Since U Been Gone” had it been 
recorded by the Cocteau Twins. “Kill V. 
Maim” has a zombie-cheerleader thing 
going on that’s reminiscent of Sleigh Bells, 
but its sharply ironic lyrics elevate it to an 
interesting meditation on the rigidity of gen- 
der norms (“I’m only a man, I do what I can,” 
Boucher sings in a kawaii helium voice that 
soon morphs into a low growl.) The most 
surprising song on the record, though, has 
got to be the twangy earworm “California,” 
whose lyrics on paper read like the musings 
of Boucher’s former tourmate Lana Del Rey 
(“California /You only like me when you 
think I’m looking sad”) but actually kind of 
sounds like— of all things— a pitch-shifted, 
post-EDM homage to Madonna’s “Don’t 
Tell Me.” I wish there were a few more songs 
with hooks this direct, particularly in place 
of the meandering “Belly of the Beat” and 
“World Princess Part II,” the only two songs 
that sound like they could have been filler on 
Visions. These are small concerns, though; 
Art Angels is the perfect album for Grimes to 




make at this daunting, impossible-to- 
please-everybody junction in her career. 
It’s weird enough to satisfy her longtime 
fans but polished enough to showcase 
her growing ambition. If this is the record 
that does make her a pop star, whatever the 
hell that even means in 2015, the world will 
be coming to her on her turf, not the other 
way around. 

Immersing yourself in Art Angels is like 
being inside a vibrantly hued video game— a 
joyride down Rainbow Road. But for eveiy 
moment that Boucher lets us into her world, 
there’s another when she’s receding from 
view, lost in a private reverie, humming to 
amuse nobody but herself And thank God, 
because this is the strange charm I was 
scared her music might lose as it sought and 
found a larger audience. “If you’re looking 
for a dream girl,” she sings with a hard-won 
assertiveness on the final track, “I’ll never be 
your dream girl.” Grimes still makes super- 
hero music for introverts, fight songs for 
people who did not realize they were strong 
until the perfect song came along and told 
them so. ■ 


Minimal Miller 

Ivo van Hove’s 
severeH View From 
the Bridge allows 
his actors to 
find the play’s 
inner toughness. 

CRITICS, IF NOT theatergoers, 
often bemoan the tide of revivals 
flooding Broadway each fall. This season, 
the ratio of old plays to new is about two to 
one. But why should revivals be considered 
a curse? Hamlet has not cloyed in its 400 
years on the boards, nor has Ameriean 
Buffalo in 40. And it’s not as if the second 
coming of, say, Sylvia were blocking the 
arrival of some new masterpiece; producers 
who smell money are usually agnostic as to 
provenance. The only really relevant ques- 
tions to ask when a play keeps returning are 
what made it so important in the first place 
and what the new production offers. Oh, 
and one more; Do the answers to those first 
two questions align? 

They don’t, quite, in the stirring and 
muscular Young Vic revival of Arthur Mill- 
er’s A View From the Bridge, now at the 



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From left, Phoebe Fox, Russell Tovey, Nieola Walker, 
and Mark Strong in A View From the Bridge. 

Lyceum. Which is not to say that Ivo van 
Hove’s application of avant-garde froufrou 
damages, or even obscures, the original. It 
is still, quite legibly, a story about the nature 
of justice in a society gradually ceding the 
primacy of clan to that of law. Eddie Car- 
bone, a Brooklyn longshoreman only dimly 
acquainted with his unconscious, has an 
incestuous fixation on his wife’s orphan 
niece, Catherine, whom the couple has 
raised since early childhood. Now a ripe 
young woman, Catherine unwittingly sets 
the scene for tragedy by falling in love with 
one of the two Italian brothers the Car- 
bones are hiding illegally in their apart- 
ment. The romance between Catherine and 
the debonair Rodolpho inflames Eddie, 
delaminating his social exterior and propel- 
ling him into the kind of perfidy and rage 
that might have been de rigueur in the 
house of Atreus but that modern society, 
more just than pure, can no longer tolerate. 
No wonder the narrator of the play, Alfieri, 
who tries to prevent the tragedy but like a 
Greek chorus cannot, is a lawyer. 

This is the fourth Broadway production 
of A View From the Bridge since it pre- 
miered, as a one-act verse drama, in 1955. 
That version flopped. (Brooks Atkinson 
found it underwritten and overambitious, 
saying that Miller was “straining for all the 
altitudes he can reach, and he is an uncom- 
monly tall man.”) But a revision for London 
the following year, in which the chastened 
playwright filled out the stoiy, expanded it to 
two acts, and recast the poetry as prose, has 
in the last several decades accrued the repu- 
tation of a masterpiece. I certainly find it so. 
In its relocating of classic drama to working- 
class Red Hook, it both elevates the conflicts 
of modem people and brings the themes of 

Greek tragedy down to earth. Even de- 
wersified, the language is astonishingly 
pungent, not only with its Brooklyn patois 
(“So what kinda work did yiz do?”) but also 
in its metaphoric vigor (“He’s a rat! He 
belongs in the sewer! He bites people when 
they sleep !”). More so even than in Death of 
a Salesman, the action is tightly focused, so 
precipitous that it sometimes seems you’re 
on an elevator whose cables have been cut. 
And for all its philosophical heft, the play 
renders its climactic moments— including 
the chair trick that ends Act One— in bril- 
liantly theatrical terms. 

Van Hove’s production drops the inter- 
mission and mns about two hours. All of 
the usual demarcations of action and space 
have been stripped away. Jan Versweyveld’s 
set consists mostly of an empty white square 
in the middle of the stage with a Plexiglas 
ledge at its perimeter. From the orchestra 
section of the Lyceum, it looks like a Tiffa- 
ny’s vitrine. (Banks of onstage seat- 
ing, for $135, rise to the left and 
right as well.) The lack of clutter is 
certainly chic, but without the fur- 
niture and props Miller specified, 
some points are unclear. Would 
someone new to the play under- 
stand, without the whiskey bottles liberated 
as a Christmas “gift” from a ship in port, 
that during the fateful confrontation 
between Eddie, Rodolpho, and Catherine, 
Eddie is drunk? Without a knife, do we 
even really know who dies at the end? 
Clearly, van Hove is less interested in these 
specifics than in the larger themes they 
were designed to express. To render that 
largeness, he borrows grandeur wherever 
he can— most notably from the Faure 
Requiem, which accompanies part of the 

action. (The ominously huzzy sound design 
is by Tom Gibbons.) And he makes sure, 
with a final coup de theatre, that even if we 
don’t know what became of the principals, 
we will never forget it. 

It may be a clue to van Hove’s agenda 
that, at the same time as he concentrates the 
intensity of the play, he minimizes its spe- 
cific contours. The costumes by An D’Huys 
are deliberately neutral and out of period. 
(Catherine’s skirt, which Eddie says is too 
short, really is; it would have been all but 
unwearable in the 1950s.) Nor is this pro- 
duction’s Eddie by any means the “husl^, 
slightly overweight” longshoreman Miller 
described; the men’s bodies, which we see 
for some reason in a shower scene, and else- 
where, are those of gym-honed contempo- 
rary actors. It must also be deliberate that 
the actors use a variety of non-Brooklyn, 
non-Italian accents that obscure the locale 
as surely as their bare feet somehow obscure 
the era. The cutting and combining of sev- 
eral smaller roles (neighbors, co-workers) 
similarly serve to isolate the characters that 
remain, turning them into no-context icons. 
What van Hove is offering, quite brilliantly, 
is a timeless agon, performed as a ritual by 
actors whose own humanity is at least as 
important as that of the characters Miller 
actually wrote. Or rewrote; Miller’s revisions 
show him pushing A View From the Bridge 
toward individual drama, whereas van 
Hove’s push the other way. 

What makes this slight misfit of play and 
production finally unimportant is that the 
actors are so devastatingly good. Their habit 
of fealty to character as defined by dialogue 
survives the director’s effacements. Mark 
Strong may be styled to look like a neutral 
Everyman of the past or future, but, in his 
bearing and cadence and anguish and baf- 
flement, he is only Red Hook’s Eddie Car- 
bone, in full tragic tilt. Phoebe Fox makes 
Catherine’s transition fi’om baby doll to furi- 
ous womanhood thriUingly transparent, just 
as Nicola Walker, as Eddie’s wife, 
Beatrice, shows how every hopeful 
choice she and Eddie have made 
now closes in on her like a trap. (For 
once, Beatrice and Catherine actu- 
ally look like aunt and niece.) The 
Italian brothers, Marco (Michael 
Zegen) and Rodolpho (Russell Tovey), are 
both excellent in difficult roles, and Michael 
Gould makes of Alfieri the perfectly regret- 
ful guide. Some of the credit for the cast’s 
superb work obviously belongs to van Hove; 
he knew he needed actors who could stand 
up to his powerful, showy interventions. It’s 
a fair trade; those interventions probably 
made this revival viable. Still, one looks on 
them, and on van Hove’s upcoming Broad- 
way production of The Crueihle with, as Alf- 
ieri says, “a certain alarm.” ■ 



98 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16 - 22 , 2015 





i Jackson 

^ Ryan 





Rushdie * 


“I would absolutely not 
have dinner with Donald Trump 
under any eireumstanees. 
Suppose I made him up in a novel. 
They would kill me. They 
would say I was anti-man.” 
—Gloria Steinem 



“There are worse things 
than to be eompared 
to Matt Bomer ” 

—Cheyenne Jackson, on how all the men on 
American Horror Story: Hotel look alike 





i Judith 










“I gave Anna Wintour a sweatshirt, 
and she very politely replied 
that she doesn’t wear sweatshirts. 
She held it up for one seeond, , 
and then I’m pretty sure 
it evaporated into the ether.” 

—Eva Chen ^ 4 

1 ^ 

Two Party Guests Ponder a Third . . . 

“Guys, they’re playing 
'Wannabe,’ and Vietoria 
Beekham is here.” 




“I want to 
believe that.” 

Edited hy Jennifer Vineyard 




“Okay, hut do you 
think that on the inside 
she feels weird?” 

“Part of me 
aetuallyjust thinks 
she loves it.” 

Photographs hy Patrick McMullan 

NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 99 



1. Listen to Ellie 
Goulding’s Delirium 

Heady stuff. 


British singer Ellie Goulding has one of the most 
distinctive voices around, as husl^ as it is ethereal, 
a cross between Rod Stewart and Tinkerbell. Her 
new album of sleek, soulful pop is sure to make her 
ahousehold name Stateside, lindsay zoladz 


2. See Legend 

Double trouble. 

In theaters. 

One of the world’s best and least-intelligible film 
actors, Tom Hardy, gets to yowl and mumble 
back and forth at himself as the notorious twin 
English gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray in 
Legend. The Yank Brian Helgeland’s {Mystie 
River, Paybaek) depiction of the pair in their 
mod 1960s London prime is fairly rollicking and 
very bloody. david edelstein 


3 . See Matthew 
Weinstein’s E Lobro 

One fabulous fish. 

Jacob Lewis Gallery, through December 12. 
Weinstein, the underground love of numerous 
artists, has unveiled a new video of a sexy tanger- 
ine koi swimming through digitized miasmas of 
opalescent space, ever winding at us like some 
otherworldly deity. Accompanying paintings 
give us ravishing starbursts that seem to ema- 
nate from the artist’s own subterranean con- 
sciousness. JERRY SALTZ 


4 . See Alvin Ailey 
American Dance Theater 

Meaning behind the movement. 

New York City Center, 

December 2 through January 3. 

Since taking over as artistic director in 2011, 
Robert Battle, an insightful choreographer, hasn’t 
premiered a work of his own; that changes this 
season with his powerful Y\ew Awakening, plus the 
company debut of No Longer Silent, driven by Er- 
win Schulhoff ’s dynamic score and darkened by 
the composer’s life stoiy (he was murdered under 
theNazis). rebecca milzoff 


5 . See Eduardo Hernandez 

Shake your body. 

Marquis Theatre. 

There’s usually something terrifying about child 
performers, but 9-year-old Ammca’s Got Talent 
semifinalist Eduardo Hernandez is so adorable you 
hardly notice. Among other feats of larceny, he 
steals “Conga”— the Act One finale of the new Glo- 
ria Estefan bio-musical— with his astonishing foot- 
work and goofy excitement. JESSE GREEN 


6 . Read Kevin Barry’s 

Fantastieal and fantastie. 


Barry’s first novel. City ofBohane, was a dystopia 
starring homicidal hipsters; his second, a literaiy 
fan-fiction fantasia, is even riskier. Two years be- 

fore his death, John Lennon faces down writer’s 
block and middle age by journeying to his own 
private island. Talking seals and giant eggs make 
appearances; primal-scream sessions spin out of 
control; the specters of his mother and mortality 
loom. A gloriously weird addition to the Beatlema- 
nia canon. boris kachka 


7. See Concentric Paths 

With the eomposer at the piano and podium. 
New York City Center, 

November 20 through 22. 

No matter how wild, complex, and colorful the 
music of Thomas Ades gets, it always whirls 
around a powerful spine of rhythm, which makes 
it magnetic for choreographers. At the White light 
Festival, four will field dozens of dancers in a pro- 
gram that ranges from chamber music to the huge 
orchestral piece Polaris. justin davi d s on 


8 . Watch Shining a Light 

Putting the news eenter stage. 

A&E, FYI, History, H2, Lifetime, and LMN, 

November 20 at 8 p.m. 

This multi-network simulcast— a response to the 
racially inflected violence in Charleston, Ferguson, 
and Baltimore— is the most ambitious socially 
themed TV concert in a long time, featuring duets 
by performers of different ethnicities expressing 
musically the idea of dialogue about the country’s 
primal wound. The lineup includes Tori Kelly, 
John Legend, Miguel, Pink, Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran, 
Sia, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, and Pharrell Wil- 


9 . See The Weeknd 

Worth it. 

Barclays Center, November 18 and 19. 

The lasciviously romantic crooner Abel Tesfaye is 
having a huge year: His infectious “Can’t Feel My 
Face” dominated radio aU summer, and “The HiUs,” 
his sonically decadent ode to the drunken booty 
caU, is currently enjoying a long reign atop the Bill- 
board “Hot 100.” His latest album showcases a 
newfound ambition and vision, and his current live 
show is likely to do the same. l . z . 


10. See Isamu Noguchi 

Zen garden. 

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, through December 13. 
Eighteen stone and metal sculptures from the No- 
guchi Museum’s permanent collection made a rare 
trip outside this fall; see them in the still-verdant 
setting they energize before they disappear with 
the last of the leaves. 


11 . Hear Takacs Quartet 

Giving voiee to something new. 

Zankel Hall, November 19. 

The string quartet is one of those antique genres 
that keep refusing to become obsolete, which is why 
you’ll find a new piece by Timo Andres sandwiched 
between the Haydn and Dvorak on this program. 
That might seem intimidating company for a 

100 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


30-year-old Brooklynite, but living composers are 
used to keeping company with the dead. j. d . 


12 . See James White 

With a breakthrough performance. 

In theaters. 

Girls co-star Christopher Abbott gives a revelatory 
performance in Josh Mond’s elliptical drama about 
a young man drifting through life. With a hand- 
held camera seemingly fixed on him at all times, 
the actor has to convey his character’s despair 
through the minutest of gestures. Meanwhile, Cyn- 
thia Nixon shines as his terminally ill mother. 




New Off Broadway Musicals 

Jesse Greens guide to the 
weleome bounty up and running 
over the next several weeks. 


1 SEE IT AT... 




Second Stage 



December 27 

New York angst 
among 20 something 
volunteers in Uganda. 
Diane Paulus 
(Pippin) directs. 


Acorn Theatre; 
November 11- 

Love and self 
acceptance (and 
dance numbers!) at 
a summer camp for 
overweight teens. 

New York 

Bedlam Theatre; 
November 14- 

Burt Bacharach is back, 
with Steven Sater’s 
lyrics, in a tapestry 
of metropolitan life. 


New York Theatre 
November 18- 

Michael C. Hall plays 
David Bowies role from 
The Man Who Fell to 
Earth, with music by 
Bowie himself 




Atlantic Theater 
November 20- 

The Mods meet 

Much Ado via 

Green Day’s Billie Joe 


13. Listen to Childbirth’s 
Women’s Rights 

Nu-riot grrrls. 

Suicide Squeeze Records and iTunes. 

Mixing feminism, punk, and some of the funniest 
lyrics around, this Seattle supergroup plays infec- 
tiously head-bopping songs on their second album, 
tracks that last three minutes max but are stuck in 
your head for days. 


14. See Melissa Errico 

The sound of silence. 

Joe’s Pub, November 18 and 19. 

What happens to a singer when she has no voice? 
That’s the setup of Melissa Errico’s new cabaret 
show, based on her 100 silent days after a burst 
blood vessel on her vocal cords forced her to quit a 
production oiPassion in 2013. She recovered, and 

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Sing the Silence— a script hyNew Yorker vml- 
er Adam Gtopnik— is the happy outcome. j. g. 


15. See Orson Welles’s 
The Deep 


MoMA, November 22. 

MoMAs film-preservation festival, “To Save and 
Protect,” always ofiers hard-to-find gems, but this 
latest iteration includes an amazing find: a work 
print of one of Welles’s unfinished, never-before- 
seen features, a sea thriller starring Jeanne Moreau, 
Laurence Harvey, and the director himself b . e . 


16 . Hear The Berliner 

Sound and fury. 

Carnegie Hall, November 17 through 21. 

Beethoven never goes missing for long in New 
York’s concert life; even Beethoven festivals recur 
so regularly that they undermine the composer’s 
visceral rattle and cerebral extremes. But when 
Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic per- 
form all nine symphonies in five nights, there’s a 
good chance some earth will be shattered. j . d . 


17. Watch It’s Your 50th 
Christmas, Charlie Brown! 

You’re still a good man. 

ABC, November 30 at 9 p.m. 

“It’s not a bad little tree. All it needs is a little love.” 
Charlie Brown’s sentiment doubled as a statement 
of affection forA Charlie Broxem Christmas, a rath- 
er threadbare animated special that became a clas- 
sic thanks to Charles Schulz’s characters. Bill Me- 
lendez’s direction, and Vince Guaraldi’s wistful 
score. Kristen Bell hosts this celebration of the 
Schulz spirit, with live performances of music from 
the soundtrack. m . z . s . 


18 . Read The Big 
Green Tent 

Ludmila Ulitskaya,found in translation. 

Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 

One of Russia’s most-read (and increasingly de- 
nounced) novelists writes page-turners that just 
happen to be monumentally important. Her focus 
here, as usual, is on the past, but the parallel be- 
tween the post-Stalinism under which her three 
intellectual characters suffer and the Putinism of 
today is hard to miss. Like that other plot-forward 
dissident Boris Pasternak, Ulitskaya puts charac- 
ters first and politics second. b . k . 


19. See Erykah Badu 

One great cover, plenty more originals. 

Kings Theatre, December 2. 

Already, many artists have covered Drake’s ubiqui- 
tous “Hotline Bling,” but Erykah Badu’s version 
trumps them all. Maybe she’ll play it when she 
comes to Brooklyn, but the velvet-voiced singer’s 


back catalogue is so stacked she certainly doesn’t 
need Drizzy’s help to put on a great show. l . z . 


20. See Mary Simpson’s 

She moves in mysterious ways. 

Rachel Uffner Gallery, through December 20. 

Mary Simpson’s coded poetic art transcends 
genres while luring us into a beautiful, meditative 
new world. The many mediums she works in are 
on mesmerizing display in this show: a video of 
close-ups of Jasper Johns’s private garden; on an- 
other screen, a man’s hands tuning a piano; and 
sensuous abstract paintings that undulate be- 
tween careful processes of cutting and soft brush- 
work, miasmatic staining and other mysterious 
procedures. j.s. 


21. See Once Upon 
a Mattress 

In love with a girl named Fred. 

Abrons Arts Center, 

November 23 through January 3. 

The 1959 musical-comedy spoof of “The Princess 
and the Pea,” with a classic score by Mary Rodgers 
and Marshall Barer, gets a welcome revival from 
the Transport Group. In a double casting coup, 
Jackie Hoffman stars as Princess Winnifred the 
Woebegone and John Epperson (a.k.a. Lypsinka) 
as daunting Queen Aggravain. j. g . 


22. Listen to EL VY’s 
Return to the Moon 

Dude duo. 


The just-released debut from EL VY, the part- 
nership between Matt Berninger (the National) 
and Brent Knopf (Menomena and Ramona 
Falls), is total chaos— in ways both bad and good. 
Though it bops a little inconsistently from 
moody lounge rock to quirky electronic ditties, 
Berninger’s signature self-deprecation remains 
a constant high point. 

So, Danielle Brooks, 
what cultural thing are you 
most into right now? 

“I just binged Getting On’s first and 
^ second seasons. It’s so funny, and the 

* writing is great; I feel like the whole cast 

II should have gotten Emmy nominations. 

The first two episodes— all the old people 
were dying and it was so sad, but it’s so 
satisfying at the same time. And I love the work that 
Niecy Nash did; you get to see such a transformation 
from when she was on Reno 9111 


23 . Hear Pierre Boulez 

At 90. 

National Sawdust, November 21. 

The modernist guru has had a long-enough ca- 
reer that some of his works now seem to spring 
from a distant era— which means it’s time for the 
young to rediscover them. The International Con- 
temporary Ensemble rolls out “Le Marteau Sans 
Maitre” (from 1955) alongside mid-century clas- 
sics by Stockhausen and Nono. j. d . 


24. See Doc NYC 

Going out with a hang. 

Through November 19; 
see for venues. 

Scores of goodies here in the final days, among 
them Lueha Mexieo, a headlong dive into the 
world of masked superheroes and villains (i.e., 
Mexican wrestling!); and Onee and for All, about 
the 1995 Beijing conference where Hillary Clin- 
ton gave a historic address on women’s rights 
(she’ll be in attendance at the screening, too). 


25 . See Half of Firet 
Daughter Suite 

Before its term is up. 

Public Theater, through November 22. 

The four sections of Michael John LaChiusa’s 
musical about the lives of presidents’ daughters 
are, in order, smart, laborious, awful, and sub- 
lime. Stay for the sublime Bush installment, with 
astonishing performances by Rachel Bay Jones, 
Theresa McCarthy, and, as an implacable, heart- 
breaking Barbara, Mary Testa. j. g. 

Is your young adult still 
struggling with learning 
problems? We can help. 

Exploring and Expanding Programs for Young 
Adults (18-21 years) with Learning Differences 


240 Madison Avenue, 14th floor, New York, NY 10016 | | @WPTransitions 

The Winston Preparatory Sehool does not diseriminate against applieants and students on the basis of raee, eolor, or national or ethnie origin. 


a good feeling about this one”— and 
instructed him to get on the first plane 
the next morning. 

Hardison had been summoned to New 
York before. Once, a Hispanic man had a 
face for him. The hair was dark, the skin a 
deep tan. Rodriguez, a Cuban-American, 
was against giving him a face with a differ- 
ent ethnicity, but Hardison didn’t care. At 
the last minute, the donor’s family with- 
drew consent. Next he was offered the face 
of a woman; floating testosterone would 
produce a beard on her face. But this, 
Hardison couldn’t take. Now, finally, the 
results on the latest candidate were in: 
Rodebaugh was a match. 

Two days after he was declared brain- 
dead, at 7:30 a.m. on August 14, the surgeiy 
began. Rodriguez started on Rodebaugh, 
carefully dissecting the half-inch-thick 
scalp away from the skull. He worked from 
the back toward the ears, then the nose, 
which he sawed off. The trick was to cut 
away the tissue while preserving nerves, 
muscles, and the carotid arteries and the 
internal jugular veins— the “big pipes.” The 
most delicate task was the eyelids. Rodri- 
guez had endlessly practiced this part of the 
operation in his mind. He worked from 
inside, cutting the white stringy muscles 
from the bony sockets. It took twelve hours 
to completely remove Rodebaugh’s face. 

In a second operating room, another sur- 
gical team had been removing Hardison’s 
face, depositing it in bags marked medical 
WASTE. “Now there is no semblance of nor- 
mal,” said Rodriguez. “We’re looking at raw 
features.” The only hint of a human was the 
blue of Hardison’s irises. This thing has to 
work, Rodriguez told himself 

Rodriguez laid Rodebaugh’s face over 
Hardison’s head. He “snap fit” the tips of the 
cheekbones and chin, and the nose wdth 
screws and metal plates, securing the face 
in position. He attached two whitish cables 
of sensory nerves to Hardison’s lips, which 
perform the face’s most complicated move- 
ments. Other nerves would regenerate, cre- 
ating pathways to the new face. Eventually, 
hopefully, Hardison would have sensation. 
Scar tissue would bind pinkish strands of 
muscles to the remnant muscles of Rode- 
baugh’s face and eventually power his smile, 
his cheeks, the wrinkling of his forehead. 

All was going according to plan until 
Rodriguez attempted to sew Rodebaugh’s 
internal jugular vein to Hardison’s. There 
was a size mismatch: Hardison’s jugular was 
bigger. A suture failed and Hardison lost a 
couple pints of blood in a couple minutes. 
Rodriguez clamped the external carotid, 
stopping blood flow to the entire face, and 
changed his approach. Instead of joining the 
jugulars end to end, he cut a hole in the side 
of one, allowing him to control the size of the 
opening, and sewed the other to it. After 30 
minutes, he undamped the carotid and let 
blood flowthrough the face. The pale cheeks 
turned pink. He pricked Hardison’s lips wdth 
a pin. They bled, a relief 

It was Hardison’s face now, though it 
seemed to have a will of its own. The face 
started to swell. It was expected, but still 
striking. In a few minutes, the face was 50 
percent larger than it had been. “It looked 
like a boxer’s face at the end of 15 rounds,” 
said Rodriguez. 

Twenty-six hours after it started, the 
operation was over. Technically, the surgery 
was a triumph. Still, Rodriguez didn’t yet 
know if the transplant would take. “I’m 100 
percent convinced it wdll work. It has to 
work. But you never know if it’s going to 
work.” Three days later, the swelling had 
diminished a bit. “I can see some move- 
ment of his eyelids,” Rodriguez recalled. It 
was the sign he was waiting for. 


W HEN I VISITED Hardison in the 
hospital two months after the 
operation, what was most star- 
tling about his appearance was 
his youth. His burned face had been scarred 
and hairless, his nose a stub; he looked 70. 
With his new face, he appeared to be in his 
mid-20s, Rodebaugh’s age, and, coinciden- 
tally, Hardison’s age at the time of his injury. 
The face was still swollen and round, and 
vdthout expression since he couldn’t yet 
move his mouth or cheeks. It was impossi- 
ble to read his mood. To me, he looked 
vaguely unhappy. He drummed his fingers 
and tapped his ear, which wasn’t quite 
working yet. His tongue still wasn’t moving 
much— the dissection of blood vessels in his 
neck had impaired its function— and his 
voice was garbled, seeming to come from 
deep inside him, as if he were performing 
an act of ventriloquism. Hardison was 
impatient. Would he be able to talk again? 
Rodriguez assured him his progress was 
ahead of schedule. “Smile,” he said, and 
Hardison mustered the hint of a smile. 
Rodriguez hoped for more. “Smile,” he 
repeated. “I did,” said Hardison. 

Hardison will be on immunosuppressant 
drugs for the rest of his life. Even with that 
precaution, Rodriguez said, “there Mall be a 

rejection— not if but when.” Rodriguez esti- 
mates that between three and five of the now 
30 patients who have received facial trans- 
plants have died after rejection. When it 
happens to Hardison, doctors will treat it 
with massive amounts of immuno- 
suppressants and steroids and hope for the 
best. In the meantime, Hardison still has 
considerable pain through his cheeks and 
forehead and always will. Doctors carefully 
titrate his Oxycodone, concerned about his 
past addiction. “I can live wdth the pain,” 
Hardison assured me. 

The next step in Hardison’s recovery was 
to reintroduce himself to his five kids, his 
mother, sister, brother, and Chrissi. It was 
the kids he worried about most. Nine weeks 
after the operation, on October 8, they 
walked tentatively into his hospital room. 
Hardison bounded toward them with a sur- 
prisingly quick step. His face was slowly 
healing, but the rest of him was fit, almost 
athletic. Hardison hugged each one fiercely, 
grabbed tissues to wipe the tears that 
seeped out from under his new eyelids. 

The youngest especially, the 10- and 
11-year-old boys, put on brave faces. “No 
matter how big of a medical miracle it may 
be, that doesn’t make it comfortable for his 
kids,” said Chrissi. “It’s still having to adjust 
to someone else’s face on his body.” After all, 
a face is more than a face. It’s an identity, a 
signal to the world of who a person is. By 
four months of age, infants’ brains recog- 
nize faces at nearly an adult level— espe- 
cially the faces that belong to their parents. 
The younger boys touched his hair, now a 
half-inch long. One of the boys joked that 
he’d buy his dad earrings for his pierced 
ears. “Hell, no,” said Hardison. It was reas- 
suring to hear his response, so typical of 
their dad. Still, they wanted to recognize 
him, to know him. “When I see his face, I 
want to memorize it, so the next time I see 
him, I know it’s my dad,” said one son. 

Hardison had long ago abstracted his 
sense of who he was from how he looked. 
The burn face had been a mask too. For 
him, this mask was better. One day, he 
walked to Macy’s a few blocks from the hos- 
pital, and no one stared and no one pointed, 
he told Rodriguez in tears. 

Rodebaugh’s mother said she wanted to 
see her son’s face on its new body, as if per- 
haps she might get one more glimpse of her 
son. But her son’s face was long gone. I 
showed Saskia aphoto of Hardison, and she 
couldn’t recognize the face of the man who 
had loved her. The face had taken the shape 
of Hardison’s bone structure. Hardison 
wasn’t interested in talking about Rode- 
baugh. Not yet. As far as he was concerned, 
the face belonged to him, as if he’d been 
born with it. It had his hair color and skin 
tone. “It’s mine,” he said. ■ 

104 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 


nated a l6-year-old. But none of them 
did so under the watchful eyes of the 
internet and social media. Led Zeppelin’s 
Jimmy Page never had to discuss having 
a 14-year-old girlfriend during his band’s 
bacchanalian heyday. Kelly, the scope of 
whose alleged behavior is far beyond that 
of the aforementioned musicians, had an 
ttaskRKelly Twitter Q&A in 2013 that 
quickly turned disastrous. (Sample ques- 
tion: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how old is your 
girlfriend?”) His reckoning keeps on roll- 
ing but at seemingly no tangible harm to 
his career. 

As best I can tell, many of R. Kelly’s fans 
don’t care about his alleged past, insofar as 
they’re even aware of it. And even if they do 
have some ambivalence, they can stream 
“Ignition (Remix)” on, say, Spotify, and 
enjoy Kelly’s music without worrying about 
putting much money in his pocket. So what, 
then, is someone like DeRogatis looking 
for? How should we hear R. Kelly? “People 
need to be aware of, given the subject mat- 
ter of his art, what he is really about,” DeRo- 
gatis says. “You can despise the individual 
and appreciate the art, fine, but you need to 
be aware that you’re making a conscious 
decision to overlook some very, very bad 
behavior. You’re either ignorant of what he’s 
been charged of, or you’ve thought it 
through and said, ‘That all matters less to 
me than his cool grooves.’ What I want is for 
people to at least think about it.” 

Kelly isn’t overly concerned with what 
people think. “You never know who they 
gonna get next,” he says nonchalantly when 
I ask if he feels hounded by the press. 
“I haven’t heard anything negative about 
me in I don’t know how damn long.” His 
assistant, who’s fallen asleep on the couch, 
jerks awake and asks permission to go for a 
smoke, clutching the duffel bag as he gets 
up. Kelly makes him relight his cigar first 
and says, “I choose my circle and keep all 
the squares out.” I ask if he thinks the media 
misrepresents him, and he gives a typically 
oblique answer. “If I take a Tylenol right 
now in your face, and you don’t know what 
it is, you might start wondering, am I pop- 
ping pills? Next I’ll be hearing, 1 saw him 
popping pills, he on that shit, girl!”’ 
Throughout our conversation, the multiple 

phones Kelly keeps in the pocket of his 
hoodie vibrate every few minutes. “Who 
the fuck,” he mutters incredulously during 
one FaceTime call with a woman, “goes to 
bed wearing makeup?” When his assistant 
returns, trailed by a bodyguard carrying 
platters of shrimp, Kelly immediately digs 
in. It’s good, but not as good as his favorite. 
“The McRib,” he says dreamily. “I have 
people tell me when McDonald’s is offering 
its limited-time-only menu so I can get 
one.” Moved by his reminiscence, he starts 
humming “Mac Tonight,” a jingle set to the 
tune of “Mack the Knife” from a late-’80s 
McDonald’s commercial. “Shit,” he says, 
“I should remix that.” Before he can, he piv- 
ots to address a frequent criticism. “People 
say my lyrics are offensive,” he says. “If that’s 
offensive, then movies about babies getting 
snatched up and people getting shot in the 
head should be called offensive. It’s all 
entertainment.” He turns to the engineer 
and says, “Play ‘Sex Time.’” 

Kelly swears that he’s not intentionally 
tweaking listeners by releasing music that 
evokes his alleged real-life deviance. He’s just 
giving people what they want. Or, as he puts 
it, “When someone orders a sausage-and- 
cheese pizza, you don’t give them pepperoni. 
When their mouths are fixed for some 
R. Kelly, they want the freaky stuff” 

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that 
the test of a first-rate intelligence is the 
ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind 
at once. That, for example, a horrible per- 
son might make a wonderful song. That 
John Lennon, who expressed regret for 
being “a hitter” in his early relationships, 
can also be responsible for a song as beau- 
tiful as “If I Fell,” or that whatever Michael 
Jackson did or did not do with underage 
boys doesn’t turn “Human Nature” into a 
lie. Songs are better than people. And 
R. Kelly, in a weird way, through his sex 
obsession, makes that truth most obvious. 
The fact that his career hasn’t cratered, 
despite all the damning allegations, makes 
it clear that when people are listening to 
music, they’re not thinking about how 
powerful men often take terrible advan- 
tage of less powerful women. Or about 
how those men are surrounded by enablers 
for as long as they remain bankable. Or 
how the media is not responsive enough 
when troubling things happen to young 
black women. Or how legal settlements 
and NDAs are effective tools for suppress- 
ing damaging information. Or that part of 
the fun for some listeners is in how far a 
singer might be willing to go, lawyers and 
good taste be damned. Or how looking for 
rectitude from coddled celebrities is like 
looking for rainbows under rocks. Or how 
at the other end of our quotidian con- 
sumer pleasures is often another human 

being’s pain. So the answer to the question 
“How do you listen to songs by a singer 
who may be a bad person?” is devastat- 
ingly simple and sad. You just do. 

T he next time I speak to R. Kelly 
is a week or so after the Buffet 
listening session. I call a record- 
ing studio in California at seven 
in the morning West Coast time. 
A publicist puts him on the phone. 

Do you have a sexual attraction to under- 
age girls? I ask. 

“That’s a rumor that comes from the 
Earth, like all rumors,” he says, sounding 
almost bored. 

So it’s not true? 

“No. It’s not true. I love women, period. 
If I wasn’t a celebrity, people wouldn’t be 
saying these things about me.” 

How do you explain people close to you 
saying that you have a problem? 

“I don’t know those people you’re talking 

I clarify: his brother, his ex-publicist, his 
former friend and longtime personal 

“All those people have been fired by me. 
If you’re going to ask me these questions, 
you have to make sense out of it. It wasn’t 
until after they got fired that they said these 
things. Go figure. I got one life, and I don’t 
want to spend it talking about negativity. 
I’ve moved on. Maybe you haven’t.” 

It’s not crazy to think that where there’s 
smoke there’s fire. 

“Let’s correct that,” he says. “Smoke can 
be anything. I’ve seen smoke and then 
I looked and there was no fire.” 

And what about all the settlements? All 
the rumors? 

“I understand the game,” Kelly says. “Get 
as much dirt as you can on somebody, get it 
all together, and make it real juicy so we 
can sell some papers. I understand the job 
you guys have to do.” 

How do you explain the tape that Jim 
DeRogatis got? 

“I don’t have no recollection of none of 
that. My lawyers handled that, what, eight, 
nine years ago?” 

Do you have a sexual compulsion or 
problem that you need help with? 

“I only have a problem with haters. 
Other than that. I’m doing well. I feel better 
than ever with my album The Buffet” 

In your career, you’ve often sung about 
forgiveness. What do you need to be for- 
given for? 

“I go to church. I ask for forgiveness. 
Don’t make a big deal out of R. Kelly saying 
it in a song. I believe in God. I fear God. 
I don’t want to go to hell.” 

Do you think you might? 

“Young fella,” he says, “absolutely.” ■ 

NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 I NEW YORK 105 


Special Advertising Section 

Holiday Hotspots 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to host a fabulously memorable party. No matter 
what you’re celebrating this season, these hotspots will elevate your soiree to new heights. 

Bowl Everyone Over 

This sections online 
directory can be found at 



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Discover Greek Chic 


141 E. 48th St (btwn. Third and Lexington Aves.) 
212-759-8550 | 

Party Like a 


405 E. 42nd St | 212-963-7029 

WALK IN THE footsteps of world leaders 
and take in spectacular panoramic 
views from the Delegates Dining Room 
at the U.N. Truly one of the city’s best 
kept secrets, the venue is matchless 
in its iconic style and stature for an 
event of historic proportions. Located 
on the fourth floor of United Nations 
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lights, and strings of Edison bulbs 

Enjoy a View 
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YOU DON’T HAVE TO wait for 
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In addition to delectable bites, your 
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Upstairs at the Kimberly is the 
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It’s Not the Platform. It’s the Art Form: 
New York Television Festival, New York 
& Vulture 

This past October, the 11th annual New York Television Festival 
celebrated television creativity with New York magazine and 
Vulture as official media sponsors for the third year in a row. More 
than 15,000 attendees from TV fanatics and creative artists to 
network heads and agency executives descended upon the 
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carpet world premieres, panel discussions, independent pilot 
competitions, industry meet-and-greets, and much more. 


Oil OrigirtaJSeries 

O Catherine O’Hara 
attends the sneak peek 
of the second season of 
Pop’s Schitt’s Creek 

& The cast of TruTV’s 
upcoming original series 
Those Who Can’t 

Oscreening and 
talkback for WON America 
series Manhattan. (Left to 
right) Festival Founder 
Terence Gray, Manhattan 
stars Mamie Gummer, 
Ashley Zukerman, 

Rachel Brosnahan, John 
Benjamin Hickey, 

Katja Herbers, and series 
Producer Sam Shaw 
on the carpet at the SVA 

O Vulture’s Margaret 
Lyons moderates NYTVF’S 
Creative Keynote with 
female show runners and 
executive producers of 
Starz’s Power, FX’s Louie, 
CBS’s Madam Secretary, 
and HBO’s VEEP 

O CNN’s Brian Stelter, 
Morgan Spurlock, Lisa 
Ling, Bill Weir, and 
Kamau Bell discuss 
the opportunities and 
challenges in making 
high-quality docuseries 
for the network 

3 Evan Shapiro, EVP 
of NBCU Digital 
Enterprises, discussing 
comedy subscription 
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Follow (a)NYFYI on Twitter for exclusive reports from NYC and beyond— curated by 
the Creative Services team at New York magazine and our brand partners. 


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Comie Con 

New York Crossword hy Cathy Allis 


1 Root-beer brand 
6 Summits 

11 Symbols of Egyptian royalty 
15 Maharani’s wrap 

19 Slobs’ digs 

20 Avian perch 

21 Bygone Persian title 

22 Footnote ditto, briefly 

23 Culinary fare that leaves one 
at sea? 

26 Old King Cole request 

27 Draft status 

28 Part of kWh 

29 Diverse: preflx 

30 Pasture 

31 Skin pic 

33 Place where the nuns are 

39 Wily 

40 Bric-a- 

43 Ashen 

44 Mortgage holder, e.g. 

45 Parents who give mixed 

50 Fireplace, to Burns 

53 Recipe amts. 

54 Sweetheart of 98-Down 

55 The Big Easy: abbr. 

56 Frost or Pound 

57 Cot alternative 
59 Collar maker? 

62 What one might eat on a 
really long airport layover? 
67 “Yo,Nero!” 

6 8 Nueva York, por ej emplo 

69 “Kapow!” 

70 Basic juicing tool 

72 Grammy winner Lo 


73 Potential winners who are 
actually wimps? 

80 NFL stats 

81 Stadium levels 

82 Actress Charlotte et al. 

83 Numskull 

84 Singer Cleo or Frankie 

86 “ Misbehavin’” 

87 Quark-antiquark particle 

88 What snobs might be listed 
in, on a roster? 

95 Chooses 

96 Preflx meaning green 

97 Comes out with 

98 Maven 

101 Sign above the counter of a 
green grocer? 

106 Body of water surrounding 
Venice, e.g. 

108 Make an effort 

109 Margarine, quaintly 

110 Fashion finish? 

113 Numbered musical work 

114 Some European deer 

116 Very hard place to visit in the 

120 “Out of Africa” author Dinesen 

121 Forked over 

122 Ready in the keg 

123 To date 

124 Mrs. Dithers in “Blondie” 

125 Keats creations 

126 “Seinfeld” character 

127 Plants used for thatching 


1 Kin of cravats 

2 Unkeyed, musically 

3 Minutes in a soccer game 

4 Trim, as meat 

5 Sch. with a Spokane campus 

6 Oratorio solo 

7 Geezer 

8 Shevat or Sha’ban, e.g. 

9 PC bailout key 

10 Apt name for a cook? 

11 Very, to Verdi 

12 Bake, as eggs 

13 Freak out from fear 

14 Yonder yacht 

15 Sambuca sample 

16 Eisenhower library’s Kansas 

17 Aging agent 

18 Forms thoughts 

24 Like court testimony 

25 Russian prince a.k.a. 

32 Winds member 

34 Fesses (up) 

35 Smidgen 

36 Sainted Norwegian king 

37 TV’s Nick at 

38 ATVorSUV 

41 “Flow gently, sweet ”: 


42 Trig ratio 

45 Barton in nursing history 

46 Not exceeding 

47 Tiormi 

48 Latch (onto) 

49 Pen point type 

50 Contaminate 

51 Readied for the gallows 

52 Bum muscles 

56 “Hunny”-loving bear 

57 Dutch painter Hals 

58 Gomer Pyle’s grp. 

59 Small parts for big stars 

60 Carry to excess 

61 Human being 

63 Agcy. concerned with 

64 Cab alternative, nowadays 

65 Deity akin to Mars 

66 Spy novelist Deighton 
71 Calculating viper? 

74 Arthr- suffix meaning 

75 Cannes showing 

76 Acute 

77 Notanimit. 

78 iPods after Minis 

79 Colorful aquarium fish 

84 Jared of “Dallas Buyers Club” 

85 Org. 

86 Erelong 

87 Small plateau 

88 Suffix with ego 

89 Fragrant, dark sherry 

90 It starts with a dropped ball? 

91 LXXxX 

92 Type of cattle and scones 

93 Here, to Henri 

94 “Lay Lady Lay” singer 

98 FoeofBluto 

99 Sent via a specified path 

100 Initial occurrences 

102 “Such a pity!” 

103 “Dallas” matriarch 

104 Takes “People” in 

105 Boxfuls at showers 
107 Yellow-flowered prickly 


111 Con job 

112 “ themornin’l” 

115 Jamaican music genre 

116 NYSE debut 

117 Specs-wearing Disney 

118 Beatle bride of 1969 

119 Tesla product 

118 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 

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Our deliberately oversimplified guide to who falls where on our taste hierarehies. 


The Mizzou 

Financial Times, Bloomberg TV, 
CNBC censor $170 million 
naked Modigliani. But not because 
the price was obscene. 

The Mormon 
church moves 
toward excluding 

the children 

of gay couples. 

Outcome inequality: 

More white, middle- 
aged Americans are 
dying, especially those 
less educated. 


Our digital oligarchs: 
Amazon and Google 
(er. Alphabet) suck 
up half the spoils from 
the $300 billion 
internet economy. 


According to Variety, 
Fox initially didn’t want 
Jon Singleton to direct 
Empire episodes 
because he hadn’t 
done TV before. 

Maybe Shia LaBeouf’s 
#AIIMyMovies marathon 
was really about 
what it’s like to live only 
on popcorn. 

Anonymous Change 
.org petition asked 
that the 7 be taken 
out of LGBT ... # 

Seattle theater critic 
offered his plus-ones 
for sale in the M4W 
portion of Craigslist. 

Rachel Rose’s trippy 
Everything and More 
video at the Whitney: 
NASA meets ketamine! 

With the release of * 
Supplication: Selected 
Poems, and his journals, 
the late poet John 
Wieners gets his due. 

The old-school- 

smarty-pants arts journal 
Even’s second issue. 

Henry IV, set inside 
a women’s prison, at 
St. Ann’s Warehouse. Makes 
sense, given that “There 
live not three good men 
unhanged in England.” 

Roni Horn’s tribute 
to Robert Ryman at the 
Dia Art Foundation 
benefit: Ryman once 
loaned her $ 6 , 000 ! 

i ... Meanwhile, Taylor Mac’s 
genre-queer Hir, at 
Playwrights Horizons, on 
how liberation can become 
another form of control. 

• sBh 

Deborah Kass’s reversible 
OY/YO sculpture lands in 
Brooklyn Bridge Park. 

The restrained 
japery of Francesco 
Vezzoli and David 
Hallberg’s Renaissance 
dance at St. Bart’s church 
as part of Performa. 

Mary Gaitskill’s 
The Mare: Kinky 

the class divi< 

g on 


Jordanian director Naji 
Abu Nowar’s desert 
coming-of-age thriller 
Theeb at times plays like 

a corrective to 

Lawrence of Arabia. 

Dada Woof Papa 
Hot, Peter Parnell’s 
play about white, 
privileged, gay 
NYC dads atLCT. 



The George Will-Bill 
O’Reilly Fox feud. 


The Bedford Stop. 


overhyped Christian 
Starbucks conspiracies. 

you can buy someone’s old 

wedding dress. 


Gothamist reels in a 
hoax: that “three- 
eyed” catfish caught 
in the Gowanus. 


There are more exclusive 
apartment listings priced 
over $15,000 a month 
than there are exclusive 
listings priced below 
$2,000 in Manhattan. 

Is there a Craigslist for 
millionaire roommates? 

The clip-in 

man bun. 

New study shows that all grilled 
meat increases chances of 
kidney cancer. So Dad was 
trying to kill the whole family 
every Fourth of July. 

Indonesia might use 

crocodiles to guard 
drug prisoners 
because they can’t 
be bribed. 


Vivica Fox implies 
her ex 50 Cent 
is maybe a little bit 
gay on Andy 
Cohen’s show ... 

Leafs by Snoop, • 
Dogg’s personally 
branded line of 
cannabis products. 

We’re wondering what 
Lamar Odom might 
have up his sleeve. 

The delightful cat 
taxonomy All Black 
Cats Are Not Alike. 

01 ^ 

... Unrelated: 

50 Cent explained 
on Brit TV that the 
bullet fragment in 
his tongue is “good 
for oral sex. ” 

The Lowline Lab, on 
Essex Street, shows 
how one day we 
might raise food 

The angelic Jeff 
Buckley posthumous 
covers album. 
You and I. 

Jeanne Gang’s Gaudf- 
esque American 
Museum of Natural 
History expansion. 

Leif’s rubbery 

“trap banger” single, 

Grimes’s new single 
“Kill V. Maim,” the 
latest best dance- 

Wendy Williams • 
is renewed till 2022 
(And yes, Donald 
Trump, that’s a wig.) 

There are two Jurassic 
World sequels coming 
(it was bred with 
trilogy DNA all along, 
it turns out). 


Steem: caffeinated 
peanut butter. Pair it 
with alcoholic jelly, and 
you have a Four Loko 

in PBNJform. 

120 NEW YORK I NOVEMBER 16-22, 2015 

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